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Trailblazer and Catalyser Funds for Music Organisations: What's New

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Over the summer, we paused the Trailblazer Fund and Catalyser Fund to make some small but important improvements. 

We have updated our eligibility and budget guidance and engaged a wider range of external advisors (including young people) to inform funding decisions.

We're pleased to announce the new funding application windows below.

Funding Application Dates 2023/2024.  Dates are listed here or you can find all the dates on the Youth Music Network  -  The Trailblazer Fund has three funding rounds. The first opens 08 December 2023 and closes 12 January 2024. The second opens 02 August 2024 and closes 30 August 2024. The third opens 25 October 2024 and closes 22 November 2024.  The Catalyser Fund has one round opening 12 April 2024 and closing 10 May 2024.  The Next Gen Fund has three funding rounds. The first opens 15 December 2023 and close 19 January 2024. The second opens 31 May 2024 and closes 28 June 2024. The third opens 18 October 2024 and closes 15 November 2024.

The Youth Music Trailblazer fund offers grants of £2,000 to £30,000 to organisations in England to run projects for children and young people (25 or under) to make, learn and earn in music. The project should trial work for the first time, test a new way of working, or disrupt the status quo (or all three!).

The Youth Music Catalyser Fund offers grants between £30,001 and £300,000 to organisations in England who want to sustain work, scale-up delivery, or create change in sector practice. Catalyser programmes 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. 

What's new?

School eligibility

Schools are no longer eligible to apply to the Trailblazer Fund. This decision allows us to prioritise funding for grassroots music organisations. We will continue to fund work taking place in school settings/spaces, mainly special schools and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs).


We have updated our Safeguarding requirements and the application form questions. We now ask you to submit your Safeguarding Policy as part of your application. This is to ensure that the organisations we fund are meeting key safeguarding requirements and have the correct policies and procedures in place before their project starts.

To find out more about Safeguarding practices, visit our Safeguarding Hub.

IDEA (previously known as EDI)

IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) is our new and improved approach to EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), that recognises the importance of accessibility. Discover more about our IDEA approach via our IDEA hub.


We have provided clarity around the inclusion of contingency costs in budgets and we have updated our guidance around match funding.


Since launching the Trailblazer Fund and Catalyser Fund, we have been working to further diversify the people involved in our decision-making processes. A wider pool of independent advisors, including young people, with a range of lived experiences, will help us make funding decisions.


The Youth Music Trailblazer fund is financed with National Lottery funding, which Youth Music receives through Arts Council England.

IDEA hub

We believe that music should be Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, and Accessible. We call these principles 'IDEA' for short. Want to improve inclusion, diversity, equity and access in your organisation? Check out our self assessment survey to help you think through what you’re doing well, and what could be improved. We've also compiled additional resources to inspire and shape your IDEA journey.

Safeguarding hub

Find out what safeguarding means and what Youth Music expects from funded partners.