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Energiser Fund - Frequently Asked Questions

Youth Music Energiser Fund

This page has Frequently Asked Questions about the Energiser Fund.
We know there is alot of information on this page - we suggest using the search function on your device to help locate the information you need (e.g. Ctrl F or Command F)
Or you can contact us directly with your questions on or 020 7902 1060

Organisation Eligibility 

What are the inclusion/exclusion criteria for organisations?

Full criteria is detailed in Energiser Fund Application Guidance.

Organisations must be a legally constituted UK based organisations, who has been providing activity for at least one year. Sole traders and individuals can’t apply.

If we don’t have a centrally musically approach to our work with children & young people can we still apply?

This fund is about creativity, not music! So yes, as long as there are creative activities included in your proposal, you don’t to have a centrally music approach and you don’t have to include music in your project.

Are NPO organisations eligible to apply?


Can national organisations apply to this fund?

Yes. A national organisation or an organisation proposing to work nationally would be eligible to apply. Though you should consider the available budget and the implications of wanting to deliver on a national level.

We recommend that strategic organisations/sector support organisations consider that they would need to offer a programme that includes direct delivery with EY children, so would need to consider how they might approach that if their work doesn’t currently focus on direct delivery.

Can a local authority service apply?

Yes. Local authorities are eligible to apply.

What evidence will you expect of an organisation of their EY work?

Through this fund we want to partner with organisations who have a track record in delivering creativity work with 2-4-yr-olds facing barriers. There is more information about this in the Energiser Fund Application Guidance.

The application form will offer you multiple ways to demonstrate this experience including through your website & social media, attachments/links to existing content demonstrating your experience (e.g. outputs from previous work, reports etc.) and through your programme proposal where you can introduce your organisation in your own words.

How much experience working with 2-4-yr-olds do we need to have?

In order to meet the eligibility criteria for this fund you must have some experience of delivering creative work with 2-4-yr-olds facing barriers.

However given the specialist focus of this fund and that we anticipate it being very competitive – we are more likely to prioritise for funding organisations where working with this age group is central to their current delivery and who are currently actively engaged with this age group.

We are a music-focussed organisation – is it worth us applying?

You are eligible to apply as long as your proposal fits the criteria. We emphasise that we are unable to support music-only focussed projects. If you want to deliver a music-only project then our Trailblazer and Catalyser funds could be a better match.

If you are a music-focussed organisation, and have not worked with other artforms or areas of creativity before we would anticipate seeing, within your application a rationale for your decision to extend beyond music. You should consider what partnerships you will need in place in order to deliver this.

Who the participants are

What are the inclusion/exclusion criteria for the participants?

All criteria are outlined in the Energiser Fund Application Guidance.  The key criteria to consider are children should be aged 2-4-years-old, living in England and facing barriers.

Can the age range go down to 1. They respond and learn huge amounts. It’s a very important stage of development.

We agree that younger children also have a lot to offer. However, we’re not able to offer any flexibility with the age range – the focus of your project must be 2-4-year-olds. As outlined in the guidance there is flexibility to accommodate older and younger children in order to make the work accessible to families and settings that engage with mixed age groups – but your focus must be children aged between 2 and 4.
If you’re unsure if your programme meets this criterion – we suggest getting in touch with Youth Music before starting your application.

How does the suggested age range relate to children with additional needs/developmental delay?

The age range remains the same for all children. We’re most interested in children who are in that age range and the life they have experienced rather than specifying or expecting a specific developmental point.

When you say with 2–4-year-olds what type of involvement are you anticipating them to have with the projects? Can this funding be utilised to create new theatre for early years, or are you more interested in participatory creative learning workshops for 2-4year olds?

Can the fund focus on something like training, research or developing resources (whilst hitting the brief of developing co-design etc), or does the face-to-face activity have to be the main part of the budget?

At the heart of your delivery must be regular creative activities for 2-4-year-olds. You could potentially use the funding to create new theatre for early years, but we’d be expecting you to really involve children at the heart of that process. If your creative approach doesn’t involve children or involves them only in a light-touch way (for example initial idea generation or testing out a newly developed show) then this isn’t the right fund for the work. However, this fund could be an opportunity to try out a new way of creating theatre – experimenting with what co-design with 2-4 year olds could really look like.

Similarly, your work could have training, research, or resource outputs – but we would expect that 2-4-year-olds are central to the creation or delivery of any of these outputs.

Can the focus of a project can be on the family unit?

It’s fine to work with families – we understand that working with families is often a natural and much needed aspect of working with this age group. As long as 2-4-year-olds are still the focus, this should be fine and could be a valuable way to explore working with this age group.

Does the project have to support early years exclusively or can it be a project which supports young people of all ages including those aged 2-4?

This is an early years fund, and the focus of the project must be on children aged 2-4. As outlined in the guidance there is flexibility to accommodate older and younger children in order to make the work accessible to families and settings that engage with mixed age groups – but your focus must be children aged 2-4. And we anticipate any other age groups would be participating in the activities alongside the early years children. We would be unable to fund activities that were exclusively for other age groups.

Can it be an intergenerational project, where 2-4-year-olds participate alongside older adults 65+?

Yes – as long as the focus is still on the 2-4 year olds.

Are you interested in work with 2-4 year olds within informal/non-formal or formal learning setting or work with families? Do you have a preference?

We are interested in any of these options and don’t have a preference for one over the other. We anticipate funding work taking place in a mix of settings including informal and non-formal spaces and work with and without parents/carers and families present.

Expectations of reach and numbers

Are there expectations around numbers?

No. We haven’t specified this, as it really depends on the nature of your work, the children you are working with and what you want to achieve. Generally, we prefer depth and quality of engagement over quantity.

What sort of reach would you be expecting to see on this fund?

This is up to your project, where you’re working and what you want to achieve. We anticipate that some projects might be working on a hyper-local level – maybe working in just one setting over the 3 years. Other projects may be working regionally or even nationally. Across the 10 projects we’ll be looking for a good overall geographic spread (though we’re not expecting to cover every area of the country).

We would encourage all applicants to think ‘nationally’ in terms of the learning community. You should want to be part of a learning community that has a national reach – as you’ll be engaging and learning with people from across the country.


What do you mean by creativity? What forms of creativity can we apply to do?

The Energiser Fund will support a range of creative activities, and each programme should work across more than one art form. The artforms and areas of creativity we will fund we anticipate being broadly in line with those that are supported by Arts Council England. Whilst some music-making activities will be supported by the fund, we will be unable to prioritise music-only-focussed programmes.

Programme activities and delivery 

Can you give some examples of the kinds of projects you’re looking for?

There are some programme examples on our website.

Can it support existing work or does it need to be new work?

Provided your meet the criteria – this can support existing work; it doesn’t have to be something new.

Would it be possible to receive funding to organise activities outside of the UK?

Participants need to live in England. Trips abroad aren’t an ineligible cost, but that’s not where we would see most of the money being spent.

What pedagogies are Youth Music most interested in seeing employed by applicants?

We are open to funding a range of pedagogies and approaches, and we don’t have a preference. However, inline with the Energiser’s Fund principles we anticipate pedagogies/approaches being child-led/child-focussed, offering space for reflection and learning, and with the flexibility to respond to the children you’re working with.  We are unlikely to fund a pedagogy that has a set/inflexible approach or curriculum. If you have a specific pedagogy in mind, we suggest reviewing it against the fund’s principles in the first instance. You should also consider whether you are open to reflecting on your approach and potentially having your approach challenged through your own learning and the learning community.

Partnership Working

What sort of project partners are you looking for?

This will depend on your project, your organisation and what you want to achieve. If you’re a library or museum, then you might partner with an arts organisation. An arts organisation might partner with a nursery or children’s centre. Early years or other teams in the local authority, or specialists such as speech and language therapists are other examples of potential partners. Whoever your partners are they should have a clear role to play and add value to your work. It is therefore better to have 1 or 2 really solid partners, than lots of partners without a clear role in your delivery.

Is there a hope that successful organisations will engage with their local music education hub?

There is no requirement for you to work with your local music hub. If you already have an established relationship with your local music hub and it would benefit your project, then this could be a fruitful partnership.  

How should we frame a multi-partner consortium approach? /Can we apply in partnership with another organisation.

To apply to Youth Music one organisation must be the lead applicant. If successful they will sign and hold the funding agreement with Youth Music, receive the grant money and be ultimately responsible for the delivery of the grant and meeting the terms of the funding agreement.
If you are taking multi-partner consortium approach you can tell us about this in your programme proposal. There is also space in the application form for you to attach letters/emails from each of the key partners in the consortium – in the letters they can outline the nature of their partnership with the lead applicant. 

Can Youth Music help match organisations?

If you get in touch with Youth Music ( ahead of the application deadline, we will be happy to signpost you to potential partners or networks. We don’t anticipate being able to do this post-application.


What do you mean by co-design?/ Are you expecting us to interview/speak to 2-4 yr olds?/ How do you engage early years in co-creation?

Your planned activities and approach should respond to the wants, needs, and lives of the children (and families) you want to work with. And you should involve children in the planning and ongoing development of your programme.

Co-design or co-creation can happen in multiple ways – it might include conversations or creative activities with children, observing carefully how they engage, leaving space for child-led and spontaneous activities, and reflecting on what this tells you about their preferences or needs. You could also consult with adults who know the children well, including parents and early years practitioners.

Build the flexibility into your plans so that you can continue to respond to children as you work with them, considering how you’ll adapt and shape delivery with them as you go.


Will the grant be up to £120k per year, or £120k over the 3 years?

Up to £120k over 3 years.

What can the funds be spent on?

A mixture of delivery and core costs. Full details are outlined in the Budget Planning of the Energiser Fund guidance.

Can some of the funding be used to pay for a member of staff on the project, or to recruit a member of staff.

Yes – the funding can cover salaried and freelance staff, and staff working directly on the project or in a support capacity (e.g. HR, or finance). You can also use the funding to recruit a new member of staff and cover the recruitment costs.

If one of the two people coming to the learning community is an early years practitioner, can we put in for costs to cover their work back at their setting?


Please can you explain more about the cash match funding?

For the Energiser Fund, you will need 20% total match funding or higher (at least 10% must be cash match funding). This means for every pound you request from Youth Music you must raise at least 20p match funding, of which at least 10p must be cash match funding.

Amount requestesd from Youth Music: £120,000
Minimum overall match funding required: £24,000
Minimum cash match funding required: £12,000

Whilst Arts Council England or National Lottery sources can’t be used towards the minimum match funding amount, it can be used as an additional contribution.

Are we able to do dissemination locally (and put in budget lines for this)?

You can include budget for dissemination costs.

Can match funding be in form of ticket income for a charged for part of the proposed programme of activities?

This is fine, but keep in mind we want to be accessible so any charging policy would need to have fee remissions built in.

Do we need to match cash fund confirmed at the time of application?

No – your match funding can all be projected at the time of application.

Can match funding come from music hubs?


The Learning Community

How much is an organisation expected to participate in the learning community ? e.g. how many meetings per year & does this have to be in person? 

This is outlined in detail in the Energiser Fund guidance but here is a summary. We would emphasise that the Learning Community is an essential part of the Energiser Fund, and you must build it into your plans and budget.

  • Six to eight mentoring sessions a year (online or at your venue).
  • Monthly, online facilitated group reflection sessions.
  • 2 face to face events a years.
  • 2 online training or skills development sessions.

If partnering with another creative organisation, should staff from both / all orgs take part in the learning strand?

We anticipate two people from your programme team will attend each activity. Ultimately, it’s up to you who attends, but we would encourage you to consider the benefits of involving a key person from your main partner as well as from your own organisation.

Does the same person (or people) need to attend all the sessions, or can it be split within the team.

Attendance could be shared amongst team members, but we see the benefits and value in consistency of attendance, in particular within the different strands of the Learning Community e.g. it would be most beneficial for your organisation and the entire Learning Community if the same two people attended the online reflection sessions, whenever possible.

Who are the mentors? Where do they come from? What is their expertise? How are mentors allocated to projects?

Mentors will be recruited and managed by our learning partner. Mentors will be matched to projects based on their needs, we anticipate that funded partners will be consulted as part of this process. 


How will you assess applications and how will you make decisions about what to fund?

We will assess applications against the fund criteria. In making decisions we will combine our assessments along with other data, as we aim for a diverse portfolio of funded partners and to ensure an equitable approach in our decision-making. This is outlined in further detail in the Energiser Fund guidance.

Applications will be reviewed by multiple people and decisions will be made collectively.

Will you be looking for a national spread?/ Are there any geographic areas of priority?

We will be looking for a spread of organisations across the country. Though we don’t have any specific geographic areas of priority for this fund, we do strive to be equitable in our funding, and therefore we will take into account as part of our decision-making data such as current levels of investment and levels of deprivation in a geographic area. More information about this can be found in the Energiser Fund guidance.

Current Funded Partners

What do you mean by this "You must have capacity to deliver on multiple grants at the same time." ?

This relates to organisations who are currently in receipt of a grant from Youth Music. You should consider whether you have time and capacity to manage two grants from Youth Music; in particular considering the specific demands of the Energiser Fund.

Can you apply even if you have an existing grant?

Yes. We ask that you have a conversation with your Grants & Learning Officer before starting an application. Also you must be up to date with all your grant requirements.

Can this funding expand existing early years work we are doing via the Catalyser Fund or the Trailblazer Fund?

Yes this is fine. We would encourage you to outline in your application how the Energiser Fund grant would work alongside your existing Catalyser Fund grant and what added value each grant would bring to one another.

Reporting Requirements

What are the reporting requirements?

Once a year you will report to Youth Music – telling us who you’ve worked with, what you’ve done and how much you’ve spent. We’ll also have some questions about your organisational development.

There may be some additional data collection required, as part of the annual research piece that Youth Music and its Learning Partner will be carrying out. These will be negotiated between the Learning Partner and the Energiser funded partners.


Is it a one-off opportunity starting in 2024 or are there likely to be further rounds in future? We may not be ready to put an application in yet.

This is a one-off opportunity, there are no future rounds planned. We continue to fund music projects through the Trailblazer and Catalyser funds which are ongoing.

Can you apply for this alongside the Catalyser fund?

Yes you can. Please be aware that competition for our funding is high and we don’t anticipate many applicants being successful with both an Energiser and a Catalyser grant.