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Members of the string group at Central Lancaster High School with violins bought with a grant from the fund, spring 2024.

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New cello for the string group at Furness Academy, bought with a grant from the fund, summer 2024

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Instruments for the percussion group at Morecambe Bay Academy, bought with a grant from the fund, spring 2024

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The samba band at Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy, Lancaster. The School received a grant to buy the instruments 2022-23.

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Black Combe Junior School brass group which received a grant for some new instruments


The Small Group Music Fund (established in 2019) is a source of money for instrumental groups for school-age children in Cumbria and north Lancashire. It has been founded with a generous donation from an anonymous donor who wants all children to have the opportunity to play music together. The fund provides money for all aspects of running youth ensembles, from running costs (including teacher salaries) to one-off costs such as sheet music. The fund is administered by the WYO.


Is my group eligible to apply?

Any instrumental group which involves school-age children and is based in Cumbria or northern Lancashire (LA postcode) is eligible to apply. Groups can take place in or out of school.

What do you fund?

We will fund both running costs (including tutor salaries) and one-off expenses. So whether you are looking to buy sheet music for your school recorder group, help with concert costs, or looking for some funds to start up a new group, you are invited to make an application to the fund. 

​How much can I apply for?

All applications will be considered on their own merits, whether big or small, though we will expect the upper limit for applications to be around £500. We have a certain amount of money to distribute every academic year and will look to fund a variety of different projects. If we are unable to fund the whole amount that you request, we may well still be able to offer a contribution.

How long will the process take?

The grants committee will normally meet once a term but if your request is urgent it may be possible to fast-track the application. Please contact the Administrator to discuss your needs.

​Will the name of my group be published?

Yes, if you receive a grant it is a condition that the name of your ensemble (but not the amount) is published on our web page.

Can I apply more than once?

As long as the reporting conditions are met (see below), your group can in theory make one application per academic year.

​If you have any questions about your eligibility or funding please feel free to be in touch with the Administrator for an informal discussion of your requirements.

Application process:

To make an application please download and fill out the application form and send it, along with the relevant quotations to the Administrator.

Terms and conditions:

Acceptance of a grant is subject to two conditions:

1. all recipients must agree for their names to be published (without the amount) on our web page as part of the fund’s annual report.

2. All recipients of grants will be contacted and asked to provide feedback about how the grant has been spent. It is required that this report is received within twelve months of the receipt of the grant. Recipients will also be encouraged to send photos and other material which can be used on the fund’s web page and in its publicity materials.

Who have we funded?

Since our  launch in November 2019 we have supported a variety of projects, providing funding for music stands, sheet music, instruments and tuition costs. Below are some pictures of groups who have received grants.

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Children from the steel band at Carnegie Music Centre which received money for new beaters and music stands

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Cellisimo perform in Lancaster Priory, July 2022

Recipients 2019 - 2020

Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale for P bones

Ullswater College for string group funding and music

WYO for string quartet funding

Kirkbampton Primary School for recorders and recorder music

Trinity School, Carlisle for boomwhackers

Folkfirst group, Barrow for tuition costs

Black Combe Junior School, Millom for brass instruments

St Bernard's Catholic High School, Barrow for music stands

Carnegie Music Centre for music stands and beaters

Caldew School, Dalston for contribution towards steel drums

St Paul's C of E Primary, Caton for boomwhackers

BlueJam Arts, Penrith for the Youth Jazz Ensemble

Joywood Harps for making harps for young players

Recipients 2020 - 2021

West End Primary School, Morecambe for boomwhackers and glockenspiels

Cellissimo ensemble, Lancaster for workshops and performance

Recipients 2021 - 2022

Newbarns Primary School, Barrow-in-Furness for glockenspiels

Cellissimo ensemble, Lancaster for workshops and performance

Recipients 2022 - 2023

Ullswater Community College, Penrith for brass band instruments

Kirkbie Kendal School, Kendal for samba band instruments and equipment

Nelson Thomlinson School, Wigton for electric drum kit for rock band

Ripley St Thomas CE Academy, Lancaster for samba band instruments

Recipients 2023 - 2024

Central Lancaster High School for new violins for the string group.

Morecambe Bay Academy for samba band instruments.

Furness Academy for a new cello for the string group.

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