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Funding sources for the arts

Potential sources of funding for arts projects offered by other Islington Council services, sources of funding for local projects and key directories of funding for the arts.

There is a range of funding opportunities available for organisations and individuals with great ideas for arts projects to access. Although competition for funding is becoming increasingly fierce, those armed with a coherent fundraising plan underpinned by detailed fundraising research will be in a strong position to secure the funds they need.

Successful arts organisations are increasingly those that manage to secure a mixed funding model where income from public funds and grants from charities or foundations are balanced by income from corporate sponsorship, donations from individual supporters and earned income from charging for services and resources.

The links below provide additional information about opportunities to widen your funding base and alternative sources of funding such as Creative Industry Finance.

You can also download some useful tips on how to write an arts proposal from the related documents at the bottom of this page as well as a funding booklet with list of funders who will fund arts and culture projects.

Council funding

  • The Local Initiatives Fund supports activities and improvements in Islington’s neighbourhoods including arts projects, festivals and estate community events. Each Ward has an annual budget of £14,000 from which local councillors can recommend a project for support usually in the range of £500 - £1,000. These small allocations can be used as match funding for larger projects to lever in other funding partners. For more information please email or visit the Local Initiative Fund page on our website.

  • The council's Community Chest is managed by the Cripplegate Foundation and awards funding of up to £5,000 to community organisations that work with Islington residents and have an annual turnover of less than £100,000. Priority is given to organisations that have an annual turnover of less than £50,000.

  • Sport Islington helps sports clubs to promote sporting opportunities to residents. Clubs can apply for up to £1000 (£1500 with Clubmark accreditation), and individual athletes can apply for a grant up to £500.

  • The Council's VCS Partnership Grants Programme core funding to local charities and community groups. 

Local funding

  • Together with Voluntary Action Islington the council have set up the Islington Funding Toolkit, a fully searchable database of local, regional, national and international funding opportunities for VCS organisations. 

  • Islington Hive is a crowdfunding platform for local inspirational projects. If you have a great new idea simply add a project to the Islington Hive page and use the online tools to build your local fundraising campaign. Visit the Islington Hive website for more information.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England funds a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. They are a major funder of arts and culture offering a number of important funding programmes to support artists and arts organisations including the Artists’ International Development Fund, Strategic Touring Programme and the Arts Impact Fund which will provide repayable loan finance.

Many smaller scale and local arts projects secure funding through their Grants for the arts, a rolling deadline funding programme providing support for arts activities and organisations in England.

Arts Council England also publishes one of the most comprehensive lists of major funders. The major funders are incredibly competitive and time consuming to apply to, so do read their criteria carefully and contact their advisors if you are unsure as to whether or not your project is eligible to apply.

Visit Arts Council of England page  

Awards for All

Provides funding for community-based projects across the UK.

Visit the Awards for

All website for more information.

Creative Industry Finance

Creative Industry Finance (CIF) is a programme designed to assist creative and cultural enterprises in securing the finance and investment they need to successfully develop and grow into sustainable businesses. The programme offers tailored advice to improve the business skills and commercial experience of businesses in order to make them ‘funding ready’ and support them through the process of applying to one of CIF’s lending partners for a business development loan.

CIF is open to a wide range of creative and cultural enterprises, from micro-businesses through to major institutions including charities, social enterprises and commercial businesses, sole traders and individual artists. Any business model is acceptable - limited companies, partnerships and not-for-profits - as long as you are able to demonstrate that the production of new, creative content is at the heart of what you do, that you have been trading for at least eighteen months and that you are based in England.

Visit the CIF website for more information.

Culture Seeds

Now open for applications

Culture Seeds is a two-year rolling programme, so you can apply at any time for funding between £1,000-£5,000.

The new grants will be used to support community-led cultural projects in every London borough.

Culture Seeds will support not-for-profit, small or informal organisations and groups as well as individuals as it is often harder for them to access funding.

Culture Seeds is part of the Mayor of London’s Strategy for Culture, Culture for all Londoners. It's part of the Mayor’s ambition to put culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Heritage is really wide-ranging. The Heritage Lottery Fund supports all kinds of projects, as long as they make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities. It offers a range of different grant programmes with grants from £3,000 to over £5million. Visit the Heritage Lottery Fund website for more information.

Funding Central

The Funding Central website offers a funding search facility which allows registered users to look for a wide range of funding sources including the government, National Lottery and charitable trusts. The site allows you to specify your organisation’s status and your funding needs to help you avoid spending time researching funders that are not a good fit.

Visit the Funding Central website for more information.


This website offers comprehensive information, updated daily, on government grants for voluntary and community sector groups.

Visit j4bCommunity website for more information.

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