Arts and cultural funding across the UK

Arts and cultural funding across the UK

Picture of Kat Stapley-Smith

BY: Kat Stapley-Smith
21 Sep 2021

We know that budgets can be tight for arts education activities and programmes, which is why sources of external funding are increasingly important. If you’re looking to deliver Arts Award or further develop your work but having trouble when it comes to financial resources, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the available funding for arts projects across the UK.


Arts Council England

Arguably the best-known of Arts Council England's funding is their ‘Investment Programme’ (National Portfolio or Investment Principles Support Organisation), but that’s not all they have to offer.

National Lottery Project Grants – is designed to support individual artists, community and cultural organisations at different budget levels. Project funding is available at three different levels, up to £30,000; £30,001 to £100,000 and £100,000+. The decision turnaround and application processes vary for each level but it is always open.

ACE also focus on Time-Limited Priorities which invite applications for specific projects, supporting their overall strategy.

The ACE website contains contact information for other sources of funding, including their counterpart Arts Councils in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Youth Music

Youth Music's grants provide funding for music projects across England, and has deadlines throughout the year across their funding portfolio. Their focus is on projects which centre around music-making for children and young people in challenging circumstances as well as the more strategic work on developing the wider music sector. The organisation has four funds available: The Catalyser Fund, Trailblazer Fund, NextGen Fund and the Energiser Fund.

It is also possible to look at whether the Holiday Activities and Food Programme may be used in your local area to support holiday programme delivery of Arts Award. The holiday provision is for children and young people who receive benefits-related free school meals.


Creative Scotland

While Creative Scotland offer regular funding, they also provide opportunities for a range of projects, including their own rolling programme of Open Project Funding which can be applied for at any time. Grants range from £500 - £100,000 and are available to individuals or organisations based in Scotland. Projects could range from those which help artists to develop their skills, to those aimed at encouraging wider participation in the arts. The Funding Programmes page contains information about other financial support opportunities offered through Creative Scotland’s programmes.

Creative Scotland’s Opportunities page is regularly updated with details of funding deadlines, as well as jobs and development opportunities, across the country.

Culture & Business Fund Scotland

Administered by Culture & Business Scotland, the C&BS Fund is a scheme designed to enable culture and business organisations to come together and build effective, sustainable partnerships to deliver arts and heritage activity in Scotland. There are case studies available on the site for prospective applicants to review.


Arts Council of Wales

Arts Council of Wales provides a suite of funding streams, with deadlines throughout the year. Their small grants, with separate application processes for individuals and organisations and schools are open year-round.

Literature Wales

Literature Wales’ Inspiring Communities Fund can provide financial support to bring writers to speak at events or run workshops in a variety of settings – including youth groups and schools.


National Lottery

In addition to funding given to regional arts councils, the National Lottery Community Fund offers a host of grants, several of which are open for applications year-round. Awards for All, for instance, is available in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and provides grants of £300 - £20,000. These grants are designed to support voluntary, community or public sector organisations to deliver projects that make a difference in local communities.

The National Lottery’s funding page also includes details of additional streams available to specific regions, such as Empowering Young People in Northern Ireland or Young Start in Scotland.

Children in Need

BBC Children in Need offers grants for projects supporting disadvantaged children and young people. This could include children who suffer from illness, distress or neglect, those who have a disability, face behavioural or psychological difficulties or who live in poverty/situations of deprivation. The Project Costs funding stream has no application deadline and is for projects up to three years in duration, and decisions are made quickly for projects seeking less than £15,000. Details of eligibility can be found on the website.

Grants Online maintains an up-to-date register of funding deadlines across the UK for all sectors.

Don’t forget our own 
Access Fund opens for applications on an annual basis (usually early in September) and provides grants of between £100-£1500 to Arts Award centres working on Arts Award projects with young people who face barriers to access and inclusion.

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