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Funding ideas

Funding Ideas #1

Having visited and been in touch with many bands in my first couple of months as Liaison Officer, it is clear – and no surprise – that most brass groups are seeking funding. I thought I’d share a couple of key sources of local funding support.

Did you know that a brass band is a Third Sector Organisation? In other words, a voluntary or community group – and as such, bands often qualify for information, advice, or direct support from local organisations specifically funded to help us.

Here I’ll focus on two common sources of funding help: Community Foundations and Voluntary and/or Community Action groups.

UK Community Foundations is a registered charity that provides clients – such as brass bands – access to the UK’s network of community foundations.

Your local community foundation will have a range of funds for local needs. They manage funding and investment schemes, offering support such as funding advice and sharing the very latest information on which of their local grants and schemes might support your band. Find local guidance here:

These organisations are, in my experience, always helpful, supportive and willing to assist. Whilst they can never guarantee funding success, they are well-organised and well-informed to offer the best advice. Have a look at the following recent example:

Strata Brass of Hoyland, in South Yorkshire, has secured numerous successful grant applications and donations over the years. One recurring difficulty, shared with many other bands, is funding to cover those necessary expenditures such as light, heat, rates, rent…Most funders want to fund a specific project or purchase – so Strata now have an extensive set of percussion equipment, for example, and have benefitted from support from their sponsors for musical activities and development. This still left them seeking support for general running costs. One brief phone call to Karen Walke of the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, and Strata knew exactly where to apply. Six weeks later they received a cheque for £1403 thanks to the SYCF’s support.  Paul Wilkinson, Band Manager, said “SYCF were friendly and helpful, and the support they gave allowed us to access funds which now give us breathing space to focus on finding a new sponsor and varied concert venues.”

South Yorkshire Community Foundation have recently supported several other South Yorkshire bands – for more details sign up to their E-Newsletter. SYCF can be reached via

The second source of funding support I want to share with you are the groups usually known as Voluntary and/or Community Action groups. They include organisations like:

Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action      

East Devon Volunteer Support Agency                          

Bolton Community and Voluntary Services               

To find your local organisation, try first searching for “YOUR CITY/YOUR REGION Voluntary Action” or “YOUR CITY/YOUR REGION CVS”. If that wields no results, try “YOUR CITY/YOUR REGION Funding Advice”. Please feel free to contact me if your search is tricky. Each voluntary support organisation will work differently and will offer different levels of support to other similar organisations – all dependent on their particular focus and their own capacity.

A recent contact with Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action was very encouraging. After a brief conversation, the Community Development Officer has offered funding support to brass bands, and has alerted his area funding officers regarding possible contacts from bands in the area. WCAVA can run funding searches for bands and if your brass band registers with them (free of charge), you will receive a weekly email with funding updates that may be suitable to your circumstances.

One thing I have noticed when working with bands and associations on funding sources is that almost all access to funding information is now web-based. I am interested in knowing whether using the internet and social media is making your lives easier, harder, or more interesting! Please let me know your thoughts – you can contact me in any of the following ways:

Twitter: @Brassbandseng

Facebook: Brass Bands England

National Liaison Officer, Brass Bands England, Unit 12, Maple Estate, Stocks Lane, Barnsley, S75 2BL