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Finding funding to support participation in the Festival

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

There's no dancing around the fact (pun intended) that school budgets are tight. Sadly, the arts are all too often the first victim of budget and curriculum cuts. But it's also true that, more than ever, many funders, charities and trusts recognise the vital role the arts play in ensuring children and young people are given rich opportunities to enhance their lives and life chances.

We've put together some guidance and links for any school wanting to consider applying for funding for arts based activities. Not all of them are specific to schools so if you're providing dance opportunities in a wider community setting you may still find them useful. The key is how your company is set up - perhaps a charity, community interest company or not-for-profit?

At this point it's worth highlighting that many sources of funding will only offer support if activities are delivered as extra-curricular/out of school clubs and not part of normal curriculum delivery. It's also worth pointing out that funders will often target their support to low income families or children and young people who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to take part in the arts.

Schools are often categorised within the 'not for profit' category, which makes them eligible. If you're a community company you may already be registered as a charity, a community interest or a not for profit, in which case some of the suggestions below may be eligible for you.

This gathering of resources and links is divided into 4 sections:



The positive impact that events like the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival have on the children and young people is clear. There are huge benefits in terms of their emotional, physical and mental health. It helps build self-belief, self-motivation, commitment, confidence and the ability to work as part of a team. It provides an opportunity to shine and to celebrate creativity.

Participating in external events gives schools the opportunity to celebrate aspects of their offer to pupils that they should be proud of but is often never celebrated in a public arena. This is backed up in bucketloads by the feedback we get from families and senior leaders in schools.

Anyone that has see children and young people working at full creative tilt will have no doubt about the benefits of the arts and creative activities. We've seen it. We know it. There are anecdotes aplenty. But applications for funding and financial support are often bolstered when backed up with relevant and up to date data and statistics.

There's plenty of publications and research out there. Here's just a few but search 'impact of arts children and young people' (or similar) on Google and you'll find lots of stuff.






We Are IVE (the Arts Council England Yorkshire Bridge Organisation) have compiled a useful breakdown of 10 reasons why arts & culture makes a difference to young people's lives. They can be summarised as:

  • Improving educational attainment across the curriculum

  • promoting economic growth

  • developing skills for the future

  • improving mental health and wellbeing

  • developing transferable life and work skills

  • encouraging community engagement

  • an opportunities to show hidden skills, talents and creativity

  • levelling the playing field for the disadvantaged

  • strengthening communities

  • making learning fun

You might want to use some of these in any application you might make for funding. They're backed up with extensive research.


The benefits are clear, which is why it's worth considering making an application for financial support to help out with participation in events and activities like the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival - perhaps the cost of an artist to deliver sessions, the registration fee, travel, costumes and even subsidised tickets for families on low incomes. It all adds up. Many application forms are relatively light-touch so it's worth a punt.



If you've got a spare hour it's worth having a look around at what's out there. Arts based activities within schools are likely to hit the priority areas identified by funders: building communities, physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing are hot topics.

Grants for Schools - is specifically designed to help schools (and anyone working with schools) access the many different grant schemes available to them. Whilst some features can only be accessed by paying a monthly or annual subscription a lot of the features on the website can be accessed free of charge. You can sighn up to their newsletter and find out when grants for your area become available. You can even search for arts specific funds.

Grants Online - is billed as one of the UK's comprehensive and up to date information resources for organisations looking for grant funding. Whilst some features can only be accessed by paying a monthly or annual subscription a lot of the features on the website can be accessed free of charge.

Funding for All - provides free, expert fundraising advice to small charities, voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises. Whilst not all of the sources of funding they list are relevant to schools, there are a lot that are.They also provide support in areas such as bid/grant application writing.

Straight Forward Funding Sources Free Facebook Group listing hundreds of up to date sources of funding

Register of Charities Useful for researching more about specific funders: what they fund, who they have funded – and how much they have donated.



There are two sources of funding that you might want to take a look at if you're thinking about a more expansive project or initiative that addresses equality, opportunity and community engagement.


The NATIONAL LOTTERY AWARDS FOR ALL COMMUNITY FUND It's all about strengthening communities - and where better place to start than schools! Events like the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival engage families in a celebration of learning.

Grants available up to £10,000 for projects delivered within 1 year.

The National Community Lottery aims to:

  • build strong relationships in and across communities

  • improve the places and spaces that matter to communities

  • help more people to reach their potential, by supporting them at the earliest possible stage.

When they assess sports, arts and heritage projects, They're looking for projects where the main aim is to strengthen your community in some way.

Cannot fund statutory activities or activities that improve educational attainment (PHSE, STEM, English, Maths)


The PAUL HAMLYN FOUNDATION ARTS ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION FUND addresses inequalities of opportunity to access and participate in the arts.

It wants to support change in the way the arts are created, presented, accessed and experienced.

  • Work with communities who are experiencing inequality of opportunity to access and participate in the arts, who face long-term structural and systemic inequalities and are disproportionately affected by Covid-19;

  • Development of a committed relationship with those communities and a meaningful process of engagement.

  • Proposals that show a clear understanding of your whole organisation’s role in addressing structural inequalities.

  • Commitment to developing a diverse and inclusive organisation

  • Commitment to gathering evidence, reflecting upon it and sharing it to improve future practice.

Will not fund arts provision in primary and secondary schools relating to the curriculum

Can apply for between £30,000 and £400,000 for activity lasting between 12 months and 4 years

You may book an optional Enquiry Call with the Arts Access and Participation team to discuss your proposal.

Definitely worth pulling together a clear and simple Theory of Change for this application



Schools are often shy about approaching local businesses and companies. You might think they wouldn’t be interested but you’d be wrong. They are very often interested in supporting their local schools with a grant because they recognise the value in providing rich opportunities for children and young people; especially something like the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival. You could offer them complementary tickets to the event and they'll get the chance to actually the impact their contribution has made.

A community grant is something that businesses offer to non-profit organisations so one of the best school fundraising ideas is to research the top companies where you live and find out if they make grants to schools. Here’s just a few of the national initiatives that we found... it's the supermarket chains that have the most visible and accessible local community funds.

Asda's Transforming Communities and Improving Lives Grant is particularly relevant to the Festival. More information:

You can ask your local NISA store to nominate you to receive a donation. The Festival fits their criteria for their eligible activities.More information:

Costcutter Supermarkets Group run 'Local Pride', a charity brand that supports their stores to give back to local good causes in the communities they serve... including schools and community groups. More information:

'Bags of Help' is Tesco’s local community grant scheme. It funds thousands of community projects every year. The projects must meet the criteria of bringing benefits to the community - which, of course, the Festival does! More information:

Co-op's Local Community Fund will fund 3 projects in each of their communities per year. Applications are open every 12 months - usually in the spring. It's open for activities/projects that: supports the mental and physical health of others through community wellbeing activities and Enables people to develop or share their skills to foster community spirit and build resilient communities for the future. More information:

Please note that when we accessed the website (July 2021) the fund was closed to applications but is expected to open again soon.

Persimmon's Building Futures scheme is designed to support children in health, sport and education and arts. They're offering three major prizes to fund projects for children with a first prize of £100K, Second prize of £50K and a third prize of £20K. There are also more than 200 additional cash prizes of £1,000 each to give away during May, June, July and August 2021.

The application is via an application form that describes why your group or organisation deserves funding and what you will spend the money on should you be lucky enough to win. More information:


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