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Youth Music update re Coronavirus (COVID-19) and FAQs - last update Nov 2020

Youth Music staff are currently working from home. Our office is closed until further notice, with phonelines redirected to staff mobiles. Apart from that, our business continues as usual.

This page will be kept up-to-date with the latest information (last update 9 November 2020), and we will share any changes on our social media. Follow our Twitter @youthmusic and @youthmusicnet for all the latest news updates.

Grants programme policy – applicants

Our grants programme remains open. Youth Music recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak is an exceptional event and that the situation continues to remain uncertain and unpredictable for all organisations, and we recognise that plans need to be flexible and may change, and Youth Music has taken this into account in our assessment and grant management processes.

However, now more than ever it is important that we invest in programmes and organisations that have practical plans in place to work with children and young people, the workforce and the wider sector. We are unlikely to fund programmes that rely heavily on face to face delivery but have no contingencies in place should face to face not be possible at any point.

We are looking to support programmes that take a proactive approach and have contingencies built into their plan, including their budget.  All applicants should assume that that there will be some form of social distancing measures in place for the next 12 months, including potential future lockdowns.

Grants programme policy – current grantholders

We recognise that the Covid-19 outbreak is an exceptional event that will have an impact on the people and organisations that we work with. Youth Music is a signatory on a funder collaboration statement 'We still stand with the sector'. We want to be as helpful as possible during this time.

Youth Music will continue to process grant payments as normal during the outbreak.

We recognise that the outbreak may mean that you have difficulty achieving some of the outputs we agreed when you were awarded your grant. Please have a conversation with us if you are affected in this way.

We ask that you read the following guidance carefully and follow the steps outlined if you are affected.

Changes to your project schedule and budget

If your Youth Music-funded activity is cancelled or changed as a result of the coronavirus, you can request to extend your project end date and reporting dates.

We value the workforce on Youth Music projects and do not want to see people out of pocket as a result of the pandemic.

If staff and freelance posts are covered by Youth Music funding, and activity is cancelled, you can continue to use the Youth Music grant to cover staffing costs as per the original schedule of activity. For example, if a music leader or project manager was scheduled to work for 2 hours each week then they can still be paid for 2 hours each week even while the activity is not happening. However:

  • We suggest that staff and freelancers are assigned other activity to undertake from home for the times they are being paid, e.g. planning, training, evaluation or other activity relevant to the Youth Music programme.
  • If staff or freelancers are entitled to other payments as a result of the coronavirus (e.g. statutory sick pay due to being ill or in self-isolation, or income protection insurance) then Youth Music funding can be used to make up any shortfall between what they would have received (if activity had continued as normal) and the amount they receive in benefits. 

If you have committed expenditure from your Youth Music budget for activity that can no longer go ahead, then you can use the funding to honour the commitment. However, we recommend that you think carefully before committing further expenditure during this period.

Should you wish to use your grant in this way then please contact your Grants and Learning Officer to explain how activity will change, and what budget lines will be affected.

In September, we contacted all grantholders to request a formal update about their programmes. This is part of our audit requirements and we may contact grantholders for further updates from time-to-time.


We’ve compiled answers to a list of common questions below – please get in touch with us if you have any further questions.

Email or contact your Grants and Learning Officer directly.

  1. Upcoming funding rounds. 
  2. Existing grantholders. 

1. Upcoming funding rounds

Are your normal funding rounds still going ahead?

Yes. The application deadlines can be found on the 'I need funding' page

Should I still apply when I don’t know how long social distancing measures will apply?

We recommend planning your delivery on the assumption that there will be some form of social distancing measures in place for the next 12 months, and potential future lockdowns. We realise that this may mean working with smaller numbers of children and young people and may have additional costs attached, e.g. for the purchase of protective equipment, additional cleaning, IT equipment for staff or young people.

There are additional costs associated with social distanced delivery. Can I include these in my budget? This means that my capital costs go over the maximum 10% threshold.

You can include these costs within your budget. We are being flexible with the capital costs threshold so it’s okay for your capital costs to exceed 10% during this time. However, the maximum grant request is still £30,000

What do I do if I cannot get people to confirm partnerships and match funding?

We can be flexible here and will treat requests on a case by case basis.

If delivery is delayed on my current grant can I still apply for a new grant (as you can’t have two Fund A grants at the same time) – would Youth Music make an exception in this case?

This will depend on when your current grant is due to end.

Example: we are a current grantholder and are looking to apply for Fund A Round 19. Our project was due to finish in the summer - however due to coronavirus we have had to extend until January, will I still be able to apply for a grant that starts in December?

If your current activity is now running until January then you are able to apply to Round 19 for activities that start in February. If your activties finish in February onwards then we would recomend you wait and apply to Round 20 as your application is unlikely to be prioritised in this round.  

2. Existing grantholders

The new national lockdowns of 5 November 2020 means that we will have to pause delivery. Can we still pay people and will Youth Music continue to be flexible with our grant requirements?

Yes. But we strongly recommend that you explore the ways you can continue to work with young people, whether that is through digital means or other engagement methods. If you would like to spend some of your grant to enable this to happen then please get in touch with your Grants and Learning Officer.

I've looked at the guidance for youth activities to see what is allowed under the new restrictions. I don't know whether we meet the criteria of young people being 'high need or vulnerable' and whether our sessions can be classed as 'support groups'.

There is no definition of a vulnerable young person in the new legislation. This is deliberate, as no one definition is likely to capture the full range of characteristics that could make someone vulnerable.

It is therefore down to you to identify who you would classify as vulnerable. They can then be invited to attend a support group at a specific date and time. As a general principle you should try and keep the same groups of people working together in a fixed bubble. Support groups can be up to 15 people in total, but this figure should include staff and young people. Providers must follow the Government advice on being COVID-secure

Support groups should only take place where they are necessary. If they are taking place indoors, then community centres, youth centres, libraries and places of worship can be used. Private venues are not permitted, and indoor home visits are also prohibited.

Should I be doing face-to-face delivery?

We have published information on the latest Government guidance and being COVID-secure, which is updated regularly. If face-to-face delivery is permitted, it is down to your organisation to explore the risks and mitigations required to delivery safely, taking into account the latest government guidance. The National Youth Agency has prepared guidance for youth sector activities and spaces in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England. Youth Music does not require you to undertake face-to-face delivery if you are permitted to do so under the new legislation, however we do ask that you consider the needs of the children and young people you are working with and try and maintain a level of engagement during the new lockdown.

We were in the process of re-starting our delivery in line with social distancing and following Government recommendations. Is there be ongoing flexibility regarding outcome/output targets, or extra budget to support meeting original targets? We will probably need extra sessions to reach the same target numbers as session attendance will need to be restricted due to social distancing and we will need to have a blended delivery approach to remain fully inclusive.

There is no additional budget available but there is flexibility to move your budgets around or change the duration of your programme to cover the additional costs. There is ongoing flexibility around output targets -we realise that most projects will work with fewer numbers of children and young people and deliver fewer activities than originally planned.

Should I pay my staff and freelancers for cancelled planned activities?

It is our expectation that you honour agreements (verbal and written) and contracts with staff and freelancers engaged on Youth Music-funded projects (unless you are taking part in the Government Coronavirus job retention scheme and staff are furloughed), and seek to engage individuals in other relevant activities where appropriate while they are unable to deliver face-to-face work.

We have had to pause the project due to COVID 19, can we get an extension on delivery?

Yes. But it is our expectation that you honour agreements (verbal and written) and contracts with staff and freelancers engaged on Youth Music-funded projects (unless you are taking part in the Government Coronavirus job retention scheme and staff are furloughed). You can also ask to bring forward your project end date if you have faced additional costs as a result of COVID.

We have had to change the project activities i.e. moving everything online, is this still eligible activity under our grant agreement?

Yes, but please keep us informed of changes.

We’re concerned that we’re still paying people but can’t deliver all of the things we said we would in the original application. For example, we will deliver fewer sessions and won’t work with as many young people as we originally anticipated.

We understand that this will be the case and have stated in our policy that we’re aware that outputs will probably be lower than expected.

How long are extensions being granted for?

As long as they are required. Once social distancing measures have ceased we will contact you to review your grant agreement and reporting.

Because of COVID, we haven't collected the evaluation data as originally planned. Is it okay to change our approach?

Yes. As with all other areas of your project, we realise that evaluation data collection and analysis is unlikely to have been undertaken as planned. We can be flexible with our grant requirements when it comes to evaluation, and realise that your priorities around evaluation might be different since COVID hit. 

I am a grant holder and my activity has changed, should I contact my Grants and Learning Officer?

Yes – please keep us updated.

I need to spend more money on equipment, so my capital costs will go above 10%

This should be fine, but please keep your Grants and Learning Officer informed of any changes.

I have a staff member on furlough whose post is normally funded by Youth Music. Can I use the Youth Music funding to top up their salary?


I need to spend more money on core staff/costs/overheads, so my indirect costs will go above 20%

We will seek to accommodate this but it will depend on individual circumstances and require approval from your Grants and Learning Officer.

We’ve lost match funding – can we use our Youth Music grant to fill in the funding gap (and therefore project delivery will need to end sooner)?

We will seek to accommodate this but it will depend on individual circumstances and require approval from your Grants and Learning Officer.

My whole team is working remotely – I am struggling to get people to sign documents (e.g. funding agreements, evidence of match, authorised signatories forms, report declaration forms) – what do I do?

If you’re having difficulty getting hard copies of signatures we will accept an email approval or an e-signature instead.

My project hasn’t started yet, should I pay freelancers regardless or should we aim to push everything back?

It is our expectation that you honour agreements (verbal and written) and contracts with staff and freelancers engaged on Youth Music-funded projects, and seek to engage individuals in other activities where appropriate while they are unable to deliver face-to-face work.

Can we bring forward the payment schedule to cover a shortfall in projected income?

We will seek to accommodate this but it will depend on individual circumstances and budgets and will require approval from your Grants and Learning Officer.

How much detail in writing do you need to see from us before getting an approval for budget and activity changes?

At present it’s enough to send us an email with an outline of your plans or discuss them with your Grants and Learning Officer. Please ensure you keep track of all expenditure so you can report against it further down the line.

My organisation was recently awarded a grant and I’d like to announce it, when can I do that?

After your first payment has been made. We have a grantholder communications toolkit to help plan your communications outputs but please be sensitive to the current situation. It’s fine to share the news with partners and colleagues in the meantime.

We know how to work with young people digitally/remotely, how do I share my experience with other grant holders who don’t have the knowhow?

Please write a post about it on the Youth Music Network and we can share it through Twitter.

In response to Covid 19, we are delivering elements of our programme digitally. How do we evidence this work, and what are Youth Music’s expectations for monitoring and evaluating this?

Youth Music understand that grantholders are doing their best to react to Covid 19, and that adapting to a new way of working takes time. Once you’ve established some semblance of a routine, or plan for online delivery with your young people, speak to your Grants and Learning Officer about suitable methods of evaluation.

We'd like to share practice with other organisations experiencing the same challenges as us

We hosted a series of online networks to share practice around the different ways music and youth organisations were tackling issues related to coronavirus. All of the write ups can be found on our coronavirus resource hub

Youth Music Awards

The Youth Music Awards has been postponed. The ceremony will now take place on Wednesday 19 May 2021.

The nominations deadline has been extended to 5 October 2020.

We are seeking musicians to perform at the event and we have a number of paid support roles on the night.

Give a Gig Online

If you would like to Give a Gig online, head to 

This page was last updated on 27 June 2020.