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Youth Music Recharge Fund – How We Made Decisions

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Back in January, we launched the Youth Music Recharge Fund to support organisations and people to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The response was significant. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re making 40 grants to the value of almost £1.8 million. Over £200,000 of this is in Scotland, and over £150,000 in Wales. We wish we could have funded more.

In total, we got 252 proposals exceeding £13 million. This meant that fewer than one in six proposals were funded. That’s one of the lowest success rates we’ve seen in our funds.

The majority of proposals met the criteria and made a strong case for need. This made our job of decision-making very tough. We wanted to share the process and some reflections with you.

Why were applications rejected?

We had to use a variety of ways to filter applications to get to the final 40. Here are some of the reasons why proposals missed out.

  1. Organisations did not meet the basic eligibility criteria. They were set up after 1 January 2020, had a turnover above £1million, and/or had free reserves higher than their annual expenditure.
  2. Proposals did not respond to both Recharge Fund outcomes. There was no mention of wellbeing in many of the applications we received. Some organisations submitted proposals to support music projects for young people. This was not the focus of this fund.
  3. Organisations did not have a strong enough track record in helping young people facing barriers to make, learn and earn in music. We target our investment to support young people who face barriers to music, so wanted to fund organisations that work with those who need it the most. If music with young people was only a small part of your work, you were less likely to be awarded.
  4. Organisations were not fully aligned with Youth Music’s values. By values we mean the ethos and culture of your organisation, especially regarding inclusion and safeguarding. While we didn’t expect organisations to have it ‘all sorted,’ we did want to see some recognition of this. If policies had become out of date, we wanted evidence that you’d started to think about updating them.
  5. Organisations were not representative enough and did not recognise this. For example, we didn’t see any ways for children and young people to have their voices heard and acted upon. It’s also important for young people to see themselves reflected in the workforce. If organisations were not representative of their communities, we wanted to see workforce diversity being taken seriously.
  6. Relative levels of financial need were not as strong as others. All applicants had a clear need for the money. But when we reviewed people’s management accounts, we saw that some organisations had more relative need than others. The smaller organisations and those with no regular funding, paid staff or dedicated fundraising resource tended to be prioritised in our final decisions.
  7. Some proposals missed out as we aimed for a diverse and balanced portfolio. We received a much higher number of applications from London and Glasgow. This made these areas much more competitive.

How else can Youth Music support me?

You can find more information about our other funding programmes as well as useful resources on the Youth Music Network.

Due to the high volume of applications, we are unable to give individual feedback on Youth Music Recharge Fund applications. But if you would like to discuss other Youth Music grants please do contact the grants team by email: or phone: 020 7902 1060.

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Recharge Fund

The Youth Music Recharge Fund offers grants of up to £90k (max £30k per year) to boost organisations in their post-covid recovery.


Discover funding options available with Youth Music.