Helping Sunbeams become ‘funder ready’

What do Sunbeams do?

Sunbeams give vulnerable and disadvantaged girls the extra nurture, guidance and inspiration they need to become happier, healthier and more confident young adults, supporting them to reach their full potential and play a meaningful role in society. It provides one-to-one mentoring and befriending, weekly activity sessions and occasional day trips for young girls (aged 5-16) in North London who are struggling emotionally, have low self-esteem, lack confidence and/or are suffering from mental health issues. Young volunteers (aged 18-25) are recruited to act as ‘Big Sister’ mentors, receiving training and support to help develop their skills and further their career opportunities. Sunbeams also works with parents, schools, and other professionals to ensure that children receive ongoing and holistic support.

Photos by Esti Frand

The partnership

A5cend has worked with Sunbeams since its inception in 2013. At that point, two teachers working with troubled adolescents in North London had decided they wanted to form a charity and had identified some people who were willing to be trustees, but needed help to get the charity off the ground.

Services delivered:

Charity/company registration

Start-up guidance

Fundraising strategy

Funding bids revenue and core

 Fundraising training


“When A5cend first got involved, we were not really up and running properly. There was just some mentoring going on between a few children and adults, but we were not registered. Once A5cend helped us to become registered, we were able to formally go out to schools to expand our reach.”

“A5cend helped us to secure our first funding, which enabled us to really get our project off the ground. This was really fundamental for us. Up to that point there were just two of us running the project voluntarily. Getting the funding gave us the peace of mind to focus on delivery and on monitoring performance to improve our practice.”

“The support that A5cend gave us with our first funding application really helped us to be clear about the charity’s goals and objectives, to clarify what we were aiming to do. They also helped us to develop best practice around monitoring performance, so we now have a very good monitoring system in place. We were able to use this a lot going forward, and it helped us a lot with subsequent funding applications.”

A5cend’s support and wider impact

A5cend helped to register Sunbeams as a charity and a company. It also carried out an organisational “health check”, looking at all aspects of the organisation, such as HR, staffing, safeguarding, legal compliance etc., to check if they were fit for purpose.

Following the health check, A5cend helped Sunbeams to successfully apply for its first funding application. This funding gave Sunbeams the stability and security to get started with delivery and to develop its practice.

The fundraising process also helped to clarify the organisation’s aims and objectives, which was useful for other future funding applications, as well as helping staff and trustees to be clear on what Sunbeams’ goals and ambitions were, who they were targetting, what the focus of its activity was etc.

Following the successful funding, A5cend supported Sunbeams to secure another key grant, and has continued to provide ongoing fundraising support, enabling Sunbeams to develop and expand its services.

Since the charity’s inception in 2013, Sunbeams has gone from strength to strength and has seen tremendous growth, with the number of children supported increasing from 25 to 120 annually.

“Working with A5cend gives us the confidence that we’re going down the right route. They know what they’re talking about, so if they think a funding bid is okay, we know that we stand a good chance. It’s also been a learning experience for us. A5cend don’t just write a funding bid and then disappear – they encourage us to have a try, then work with us to develop and polish it.”

For more information about Sunbeams London, email: