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Youth Music launches £8.9m in funds to support creative sector recovery

English Charity Youth Music has launched two new funds in response a 33% increase in creative sector funding applications in just two months.

English charity Youth Music has launched two new funds in response a 33% increase in creative sector funding applications in twelve months.

The Catalyser and Trailblazer funds total £8.9 million with the application process streamlined to make it quicker and more accessible for applicants.

The Trailblazer Fund offers between £2,000 and £30,000 for organisations trialling innovative ways of engaging children and young people in music, especially those who have previously faced barriers to access. The fund is open to applications until 16 May 2022. The winning applicants will be offering projects of between six and 24 months that help make music activity more inclusive and accessible.

The Catalyser Fund is aimed at organisations who want to increase the reach of current projects, either by scaling them up, offering long-term support or changing sector practice. The grants available in this fund are substantial, ranging from £30,000 to £300,000. Running between two and four years, the successful applicants’ projects must support children and young people who face barriers to make, learn or earn a living in music. The application process for the first tranche of funding will run between 29 April and 27 May. 

Youth Music receives its funding via Arts Council England (ACE), the National Lottery, the Postcode Lottery, as well as private and corporate donors. Part of its remit is to report back on the funding status of the young person’s music sector. Last year, funding applications almost doubled with even faster increases since the start of the year. Youth Music’s Recharge Fund saw £13 million of applications for a one-off fund of just £1.75 million.

The huge increase in calls for help post-pandemic has increased pressure on the application process, so Youth Music has consulted with applicants to smooth out the wrinkles in the process.

Keith Sykes was a consultant on Youth Music’s fund refinement project. He said, ‘It is amazing to see a funder actively listening to and seeking out the views from people working across grassroots music. It was so positive to be part of such a diverse panel, drawing on their experience from across the sector. We were all given space to share ideas and explore how we make the application process as accessible and inclusive as possible.’

Carol Reid, Programme Director at Youth Music, added, ‘At Youth Music, we’ve seen first-hand how music has the power to change lives, especially for those who face barriers to access. We’re now seeing an unprecedented demand from creative organisations who often provide a lifeline to the young people they work with, but struggle for vital funding.  

‘By simplifying our application process, in consultation with the people we’re there to support, we can help equalise access to funding. It’s time for a step-change. By funders putting people at the heart of design and decision-making, they can open up access and ultimately, benefit more children and young people.’

Photo: Carol Reid, Programme Director at Youth Music