Finance, Grants, Bursaries and Funding

Funding opportunities

Public funding

Public funding usually takes the form of grants that you don’t have to pay back. It comes from the government and other public organisations.

  • Arts Council England
  • National Lottery Fund
  • Local authorities, councils
  • NESTA, etc
  • EU/EC funding
  • Start-Up loans

Private funding

  • Private funding covers areas like corporate social responsibility, marketing and PR, and private equity (shareholding). It’s possible that some funders may take a share in your business.
  • Corporate sponsorship and awards
  • Venture Capitalists and Angel investors
  • Funding from individuals or trusts

There are sources of funding available from individuals or charitable organisations. There is usually no requirement to pay the funds back in this instance.

  • Charities, Trusts and Foundations (e.g. UnLtd, The Rothschild Foundation)
  • Individuals (philanthropy)
  • Personal contacts (also known as ‘friends, families and fools’)
  • Fund-raising events
  • Crowd-funding

Other types of Support

There are other types of ‘in-kind’ support that can be just as valuable and cash. Funding or support organisations may also be able to provide resources such as:

  • Manpower
  • Venues
  • Branding
  • Advertising and cross-promotion
  • Logistics
  • Networks
  • Expertise
  • Mentoring
Some charities only accept applications from people with links to a particular location, a town, city, county or country. Others will only accept applications from people with links to a certain profession, or religion, or background. It is worth noting that whilst some UK-based charities will accept applications from international students, this is more unusual.

If you can add to the following list please let us know!

Turn2us Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services. Fantastic range of niche awards (criteria range from surnames, to relatives of masons) for those in need.

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding UCL has a subscription so please ask student support for a login.

UK Sponsorship Search Art. Aims to link sponsors with organisations seeking funding in various fields, including the arts.

Artquest One-stop resource for visual artists. Artquest has brilliant advice on making applications as well as opportunities. NB some are not eligible for students.

Fenton Arts Trust The Trust has three objectives: to support final year and postgraduate students through the award scholarships or bursaries, to provide grants to support and reward work or performance by individuals early in their careers, and to provide grants for institutions or organisations with the same aims.

South Square Trust The South Square Trust was set up in 1979 with the aim of assisting individuals wishing to study degree courses in the Fine and Applied Arts, as well as to assist registered charities with donations.

BOOK available in some libraries: The Grants Register 2016 The Complete Guide to Postgraduate Funding Worldwide pub. Palgrave Macmillan  ISBN 978-1-137-43418-0

Open 4 Learning Open 4 Learning is a funding information tool designed to help those in further and higher education – or those who are seeking skills training – to find out more about the funding available to support their learning.

GuideStar A comprehensive guide on UK charities. Type in a search for grants or arts.

UnLtd A charity that support social enterprises (templates available for downloading)

j4bgrants Listing of funding organisation for small businesses. Registration required to Use.

The Prince’s Trust supports young people in enterprise and employability Online portal to grants for the voluntary and community sector. Some support available to young people. Notification of funding rounds before they open. Over £2.3 billion local, regional, national and European sources. Search by type of grant e.g. small grants, loans, contractsEmails on new and updated grant schemes Creative and Cultural Apprenticeships Creative Choices funding opportunities

Crowdfunding resource at

Creative industries – routes to finance A guide to sources of funding and investment for arts. Requires Flash Media Player

Professional & Career Development Loans (UK Government)


Application advice

Funding applications can be time-consuming, but taking the time to prepare your application can pay off.
Each application will ask different questions. So while it’s a good idea to have some core material ready, you’ll need to tailor your answers to each individual application.

Read the criteria

Read through the application form and guidance to make sure you understand the funding criteria and what they are looking for and to make sure you’re eligible. Tick all the boxes, as your application may not be considered if you don’t.

Mirror some of the same language that the funder uses in their guidelines, to show that you are following the criteria. If there is something you’re not clear about contact the funder to check.

Include basic information

  • Don’t assume the funder knows who you are or what you do. Give a clear overview of you and your work.
  • Check that you’ve included your name, address, contact details

Use evidence to back up your application

  • You should prove the success of a project or business by including statistics or harder evidence. This reassures funders that your claims are valid.
  • Provide exact figure, for things like how many items you’ve sold, how many people attended your event or which venues you’ve exhibited at.
  • It’s worth building in evaluation and evidence collection to your projects as you go.
  • This will help you when you need evidence to prove success of your project in the future. Remember to cite your source of evidence.


  • Make sure your project costs and activities are within the scope of the funding programme.
  • Having clear, calculated costs is an important part of your application.
  • Break down all the costs such as:
  • Your own time
  • Payment for others involved
  • Any materials
  • Workspace or venues
  • Marketing costs and evaluation

Go through the project in detail and think where there could be additional or hidden costs.
Funding bodies may want to know if you have approached any other funders or secured any other funding. Find out whether the funding body you are applying to prefers to be the sole funder or understands that there may be other investors. Give details of any other potential investors.

Give yourself plenty of time

Make sure you’ve left enough time to add documents such as budgets or to get material from collaborators, such as letters of support. Factor in that you might have to wait on others, to avoid missing the deadline.
Things can go wrong with both paper and online applications, so allow plenty of time for posting or submitting online. Set yourself an earlier deadline and submit early rather than taking it right up to the deadline.


Spend some time double-checking your application to make sure all information is accurate and there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Get someone else to read your application as well and feed back so you can make improvements.