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Finance and Budget

We have created this page to support you with your project budgets. You will also find information to support you with some of the financial information you are required to provide at the application stage.

Further information about eligible costs, eligible activities, and match funding thresholds about each fund can be found in the respective application guidance.

Flexible Funding

After consulting with applicants, we know there are lots of wrong assumptions about what funders want to see in a budget. As a result, people often present budgets to us that maximise delivery costs and so-called ‘value for money,’ and minimise overheads, planning and reflection time.

That is why we devised budgeting principles that reflect an approach to budgetting that is fair and sustainable. 


If you’re applying for Youth Music funding, you should use these to inform your costings. The principles are:

Embed equity and promote wellbeing

Paying people fairly should be a priority. As a minimum, you should pay the real living wage. But freelancers should expect more than this. If you’re contracting music leaders, remember to build in time for planning and reflection too. A real living wage is not a real living wage is you’re only working 2 hours per week. If you engage part time workers or freelancers, try and meet the terms of the Living Hours scheme. If that’s not possible, speak to your freelance workforce about how to make it easier for them to engage in multiple contracts.

Include budget to remove barriers to access. These might cover things like travel, food, or equipment. If you charge young people to attend sessions, ensure this is not a barrier. A flexible and easy-access fee remission policy is a must. Access costs might also be relevant for the workforce, particularly if you’re partnering with disabled people or people on low incomes.

Think beyond delivery costs

The delivery of music activity for children and young people is likely to form a large part of your overall budget. Venue hire, music leader fees, equipment and evaluation are all essential elements of a Youth Music project. This will ensure that you execute well and adapt to what you’re learning. Many not-for-profits don’t have the luxury of regular core funding. Ensure you recoup the real value of core costs from your project funding. This is essential if you want to be a sustainable organisation. Youth Music funding proposals must contain a mix of delivery costs and core costs, but you can set the ratios for each. Think about project-based core costs as well as ongoing costs. This could include developing your policies and practices around safeguarding; equality, diversity and inclusion; or environmental responsibility.

Leave room to adapt

Build flexibility into your budget by including some contingency costs. This gives you room to adapt in response to learning. It gives you more space to innovate, respond to young people or take up new opportunities. If you’re running a programme across multiple years, consider budgeting for inflation beyond year one. We rarely increase overall grant amounts but have a flexible approach to budget changes, so long as our grants criteria are still met.


Funded partners

The cost of living crisis means projects are facing increased costs such as staff payments, overheads, access and wellbeing support. Our flexible funding means that:

  • There’s room to make changes with your grant when it comes to things like budgets, grant reporting timescales and project outputs.
  • Whilst we can’t always increase the overall amount of your grant, we can be flexible about the programme to help you deal with current needs. For example, scaling back delivery outputs (e.g. number of workshops or events) so that grant money can be diverted to core costs or used to increase pay rates.
  • As a living wage funder, we’d encourage you to ensure fair pay and especially to pay the Real Living Wage. In September 2022, rates increased to £10.90 per hour and £11.95 in London. 
  • We can bring forward some of your last grant payment if you need it for cash-flow.
  • You’ll need to run most changes by us, unless they are minor or cost less than £1,000. If your project outcomes are the same, you’re on top of the project management, then it’s likely we’ll be happy with your request. Please contact your Grants and Learning Officer if you wish to request a change.

Management accounts

Management accounts are an internal tool that you can use to plan and track your financial position. They usually include:

  • An annual budget - an estimate of your income and expenditure for a full year, broken down by month.
  • 'Actuals' - the actual amount of income and expenditure, updated at the end of each month.
  • A cashflow - so you know how much cash you have in the bank, both now and in the future.

This template contains all these things on one spreadsheet.


How to use the template

Watch our short tutorial for more information on how to use the template.