Whether you’re running a project for disabled musicians or are trying to get underprivileged children into arts and music, funding such an enterprise can be difficult. A single instrument can cost a lot of money – trying to buy an entire orchestra of equipment might seem like an insurmountable challenge. Luckily, there are various groups and charities across the UK who cater specifically for these needs, offering youth music grants and other funding to help get your project underway.
One problem in finding grants is not knowing where to look. The following organisations are some of the best known in the UK, and if they can’t help directly, they may be able to offer support and advice on the next best steps to take.
EMI Music Sound Foundation
If you’re looking to fund your music project, then EMI Music UK is a good place to start. The foundation offers two awards; a bursary and an equipment grant. Whilst the bursary provides music college students with money towards fees and living expenses, the equipment grant helps schools, pupils and music teachers to buy instruments and accessories.
Bursaries have been created at eight music colleges across Britain, helping students in need of financial aid. Each college has £5,000 per year to award to students, and these are distributed at each institution’s discretion.
- Instrument and Equipment Awards
In the past, EMI Music Sounds Foundation has helped more than 2,000 schools, pupils and teachers access new equipment and instruments. Grants of up to £2,000 are not limited to items, but can also be used to fund training opportunities and courses.
Youth Music Network
Youth Music Network believes that all children and young people should be able to access life-changing music-making. To that end, the organisation offers a variety of funding for musicians and organisers. Their ‘musical inclusion’ approach champions’ diversity of genre, style and approach to the arts, and grants are provided as a way to give all musicians the chance to reach their potential.
Youth Music Network focuses on providing grants to specific groups of children and young people where music could have a radical impact on their lives. These groups include:
- Youngsters who are restricted from music and instruments because it’s not accessible or is unaffordable.
- Children and young people who have sensory impairments or other disabilities which can make music-making more complex and expensive.
- Individuals whose behavioural issues might mean additional services and support are required in order for them to participate in music-making activities.
- Young people and children whose life circumstances making accessing music more difficult. For example, people living in rural isolation or young carers with many responsibilities on their hands could qualify.
The list above is not exhaustive, and the Youth Music Network can offer help to many other individuals and organisers.
Music for Alice
Set up in memory of Alice Macgill, a talented musician who lost her life in 2004, Music for Alice helps organisations and music groups buy equipment and instruments to improve people’s lives. Many of their grants are given to organisers working within the disability arts sector. For example, 2015 saw instruments provided to ‘Count me in’. This Somerset-based charity supports people with learning disabilities. Meanwhile, ‘Friends of Short Street Community and Learning Centre’ were also helped, with funding providing music-making instruments for young adults with complex needs, challenging behaviours and autistic spectrum conditions.
Arts and Disability Connect
The Arts Council in Northern Ireland provides a variety of art grants for disabled individuals working in any art-form. The maximum award is £8,000, though several smaller grants are also available to help artists excel.
The Arts and Disability Connect (ADC) scheme was set to help artists with disabilities create new, ambitious work. The grant provides a way to reach new audiences, engage with training and mentoring, connect with other artists and venues, and find a new level of scope and scale for their art-form, whether this is dance, music or art.
Several grants are available, including:
- Arts and Disability Connect New Work
Two grants of £8,000 are available under this category aimed at established artists who want to build on their current work to reach new partners, venues and audiences.
- Arts and Disability Connect Mentoring
In this category there are three grants of £2,000 each. Artists at any stage of their career development can apply, with the funding specifically to be used for mentoring and training.
- Arts and Disability Connect Training
Three awards of £1,000 each are available for individuals who want to enrol in learning opportunities and professional development to help their career.
Across the UK there are many opportunities to find grants and funding for arts and music, regardless of whether organisers are working with disabled people or not. The above organisations can be used as a first point of contact, with many able to offer alternative options for funding if they’re not able to help themselves. Either way, if you’re trying to raise money for a music or arts project, don’t be disheartened by the cost; there are many charities eager to help, not only with financial support but advice too.