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Youth Music Catalyser Fund


Youth Music is the UK's largest children's music charity, set up in 1999 to promote and support music-making opportunities for children with the least access. It is supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council for England. Youth Music's vision is that 'life-changing' music making is available to all children and young people.

Youth Music provides several grant programmes, including the Catalyser Fund.

Objectives of Fund

The funding is intended to support organisations by providing larger grants to support the scaling-up of music projects for young people over a longer-term period of two to four years.

Value Notes

Grants of between £30,001 and £300,000 are available.

The funding is to support programmes starting between December 2024 and February 2025 that last between 24 and 48 months.

Applicants cannot request more than £100,000 per annum.

Match Funding Restrictions

An element of match funding is required. The amount of match funding required depends on how much the applicant is requesting from Youth Music:

  • For requests of between £30,001 and £100,000, the applicant requires 20% total match funding or higher. At least 10% must be cash match funding.
  • For requests of between £100,001 and £300,000, the applicant requires 40% total match funding or higher. At least 15% must be cash match funding.

Who Can Apply

Constituted UK based organisations may apply.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be committed to improving equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in their organisation, including youth voice and participation.
  • Be keen to develop their organisation.
  • Be legally constituted before submitting an application.
  • Have a bank account in the name of the organisation.
  • Have the correct insurance in place and comply with all relevant statutory legislation.
  • Have a safeguarding policy that is reflected on and updated regularly.

There is particular interest in:

  • Organisations looking to sustain their delivery over multiple years.
  • Those who want to scale-up delivery to reach more children and young people, more of the workforce or increase the geographical reach of their work.
  • Organisations who are working to influence and change sector practice.

All Catalyser organisations will have a track record supporting children and young people facing barriers to make, learn or earn in music.




The following are ineligible for funding:

  • Sole traders and individuals.
  • Profit-making programmes.
  • Costs incurred before a grant offer is made.
  • The purchase of land or buildings.
  • Reclaimable VAT.
  • Reserves, loans or interest payments.
  • Activity that promotes party political or religious beliefs.
  • Activities that are a statutory responsibility.
  • Costs incurred in making an application (if the applicants identifies as Disabled, they can apply to Youth Music's Access Fund to help them write their application).
  • Whole class tuition on the same instrument or group of instruments (eg strings) in schools.
  • Individual tuition fees for young people to learn an instrument in school.
  • GCSE or A-level Music.
  • School-based music curriculum activity (unless in a special school, Pupil Referral Unit or Alternative Provision setting).

Eligible Expenditure

To be eligible, projects must support children and young people who face barriers to make, learn or earn in music, and aim to make music activity more inclusive so everyone can access it.

In addition, projects must fit into at least one of the following six funding themes:

  • Early years (0 to 5 years) who face barriers to accessing music-making because of their circumstances or where they live.
  • Disabled, d/Deaf and neurodivergent young people (0-25 years) so that they have equitable access to progress in music in a way that meets their needs and aspirations or provides routes for disabled young people into the workforce.
  • Young adults (16-25 years) who want to take their music further, or for whom music can support wider personal and social outcomes.
  • Youth justice system for children and young people (0-25 years) who are, have been, or are at risk of being involved with the youth justice system.
  • Young people facing barriers for children and young people (aged 0–25) who face barriers to music-making due to their characteristics or life circumstances, or because of where they live.
  • Organisations and the workforce for work that benefits people and organisations who provide inclusive music making opportunities for children and young people (aged 0-25).

The funding can support a mix of delivery costs and core costs. Eligible costs include:

  • Delivery costs:
    • Music leader fees.
    • Project management.
    • Other members of staff working on the project (eg youth workers).
    • Youth voice activities (eg consultation, youth forum etc).
    • Marketing.
    • Planning.
    • Monitoring, reflection and evaluation.
    • Staff induction and training.
    • Equipment such as musical instruments, hardware, and software.
    • Room and venue hire.
    • Food, travel and other access related costs.
  • Core costs:
    • Salaries (staff who are not working directly on the project).
    • Communications.
    • Operations (rent and utilities).
    • Governance (audit, legal advice, preparation of annual accounts).
    • Income generation.
    • Training.
    • IT costs.

How To Apply

There is a two-stage application process. The following deadlines are in effect for Round 4 of funding:

  • The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 10 May 2024 (5pm).
  • The deadline for full applications is 9 August 2024 (5pm).

Guidance notes and application forms can be found on the Youth Music website.

Contact Youth Music for further information.


£30,000 - £300,000
10 May 2024
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