Access Options
Royal Geographical Society - towards theRoyal Academy of Music - towards the cataloguing, conservation, display and digitisation of the Foyle Menuhin Archive for the benefit of the publicWallace Collection - towards the first phase of the re-interpretation of the arms and armour collection
� By kind permission of the Trustees of the Wallace Collection, London

Main Grants Scheme - Learning

Main Grants Scheme Guidelines

These guidelines were last updated on 1 September 2021.  Guidelines and application forms are updated regularly throughout the year – please ensure you download the most recent guidelines to read through and to use the most recent application form links. 

The Main Grants Scheme supports charities registered and operating in the United Kingdom with a core remit of the Arts or Learning.

Smaller Arts or Learning charities with a turnover of less than £150,000 per annum are usually more suited to our Small Grants Scheme.  On occasion we can accept an application under the Main Grants Scheme, but in these cases, the decision may still be made to internally transfer the request to the Small Grants Scheme.

We welcome applications from all regions and countries of the UK.  Please note that we do not support applications from individuals.

Revised Criteria for Support since COVID-19

The Foundation understands that charities are now operating within very different circumstances since the March 2020 Coronavirus lockdown and during the gradual relaxation of social distancing restrictions. We are keen to be as flexible as possible in our support of charities during this difficult and constantly changing ongoing period. The Foundation has consulted, listened to the needs of the sectors we support and reflected on how we could adapt our grant-making to be more flexible and relevant in our response during these unprecedented times.  As a result, until further notice, we have revised our criteria for support to include the following:

  1. Our focus will change to make one-year grants only (no multi-year grants) to charities that can demonstrate ongoing financial stability for the next 12 months from the date of their application.
  1. More grants to cover core costs, favouring those with no, or without significant, public funding.
  1. Grants to cover essential equipment or re-equipping to enable ongoing service provision, homeworking, delivery of on-line digital services and education work.
  1. Grants to enable minor works, or fund equipment, to enable social distancing within buildings.
  1. Projects/schemes that employ or support skilled freelance and independent artists and practitioners.
  1. Grants to support capital projects.  Please note that we do not fund feasibility studies and if RIBA stages apply, you mut have reached at least RIBA Stage 3 before applying.  If you wish to apply for a building project and request £75,000 or more, you must first submit an enquiry form (link below) for the Foundation to review, and if necessary, advise on, before you are able to proceed to a full application.
  1. Projects/proposals that help reduce fixed or variable costs to promote efficiency savings, or which enable the generation of higher income, or additional revenue streams.
  1. We welcome projects that promote environmental efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint or energy costs.

Charities must demonstrate ongoing financial viability over the next 12 months.  Please note that demonstrating sustainability in the current uncertain climate is vitally important.  If you cannot demonstrate this, your application is likely to be declined. For example, you must let us know:

  • the impact of COVID-19 on your organisation to date
  • how you have retrenched, reduced staff and other costs, or cut back your normal service
  • what services you can still provide and to whom and by what means
  • how you are implementing/or intend to implement social distancing rules
  • what your contingencies or fallback position will be if further lockdown measures, either local or national come into effect
  • what your revised COVID-19 affected annual income/expenditure forecast is likely to be
  • what income you have raised to date for the current year
  • your current shortfall for the year and how you consider that this can be met
  • if you have any reserves and how they are being used to support your charity at this time
  • what borrowings have you incurred, or are contemplating, for how much and on what terms as to interest and repayment
  • if you are able to access any central or local government, public agency or lottery funding 
  • the details of any other funding sources you are applying for

Further Criteria to Consider When Making an Application for Funding

We are unlikely to support start-up costs for new charities.

We are unlikely to consider social and community welfare charities under the Main Grants Scheme.

We are unlikely to consider applications from grant making charities.

Please note, except for core costs, most grants offered will be for restricted funding and cannot be spent on any other purpose without the permission of The Foyle Foundation.

Organisations and projects that provide direct benefits and services to the general public (rather than special interest groups) will be favoured.

We will support projects/initiatives where applicants work in partnership on joint projects with other similar organisations.  In such cases a lead organisation, to which any grant will be made, must be identified. 

 Retrospective funding will not be considered, nor will funding for projects that have already started. 

Below we illustrate some of the overarching key aspects and themes of support for each sector.  Please note that our support is not restricted to these activities.


The Foundation will support projects which facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and learning and which have a long-term strategic impact.  Key areas for support are:

  • libraries, museums and archives; 
  • special educational needs;
  • projects that encourage sustainability by reducing overheads or which help generate additional revenue.  This might include environmental improvements to save energy and lower carbon emissions where a cost benefit can be demonstrated;
  • projects and activities which increase access and widen the diversity of attenders/visitors. 

Citizenship, esteem-building, independent living, vocational skills training, life skills, early learning projects or playgroups/preschools will not generally be considered under the Main Grants Scheme.


For state funded schools our main initiative is the Foyle School Library Scheme – if applying for reading/library resources, please refer to the Foyle School Library Scheme.

State funded mainstream schools may be funded from time to time under the Main Grants Scheme for other projects with direct educational/arts benefits but must demonstrate why their project cannot be funded from statutory or other funding and also explain their long-term commitment to this activity.  Please contact the Grants Team for further clarification if needed.

Dedicated schools and colleges catering for those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) can be considered for educational projects. 

We do not accept applications from School PTAs or Friends Groups – the applications need to come in the name of the school. 

Major school building projects, investment in IT (except for SEN leaning aids), PSHE curriculum related activities and sports projects are unlikely to be supported.  Mainstream independent schools (excluding schools for pupils with special educational needs) will not generally be considered.


For Universities we will consider supporting arts, museum, archive or special collection projects, which meet a clear public benefit.  All University projects should enable general and not just specialist use, the majority of time, and not be limited to out of term use, or be relatively inaccessible by being sited in remote parts of.

University buildings or campuses where public access will be restricted. In all cases we will expect Universities to be contributing to the project in financial and not just in-kind terms. Some grants may be offered on a matched funding basis.

Safeguarding Children or Adults at Risk

As per Charity Commission guidance, if your charity works with children or adults at risk you should:

  • Establish good safeguarding policies and procedures that all trustees, staff and volunteers follow, which fit with the policies and procedures of your local authority safeguarding partner or safeguarding children or adults board
  • Make sure all staff and volunteers receive regular training on child protection or working with adults at risk
  • Appoint a safeguarding lead to work with your local authority safeguarding boards and/or create a plan for responding to concerns overseas
  • Manage concerns, complaints, whistleblowing and allegations relating to child protection or adults at risk effectively
  • Have clear policies when DBS checks are required, how you assess the level of check needed and how you handle the information

You must follow relevant legislation and guidance (please refer to this government guidance for safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees for more information).  If you do not have adequate safeguarding policies, we may be unable to fund you.

How Much Can You Apply For

The majority of Main Grants are expected to be in the range of £10,000 to £50,000 for revenue projects, with some larger grants possible depending upon need and purpose.  Please note that if successful, the Trustees may award less than the amount requested.  If applying for a building project and you are requesting £75,000 or more, please contact the Foundation to discuss your request before starting your application.

When Can You Apply

Applications are accepted all year round, there are no deadlines for submission.  It may take up to four months, occasionally longer, to receive a decision from the Trustees, so apply well in advance. 

Please note for capital projects seeking more than £75,000 the Foundation will only consider these twice a year.  Therefore, it could be six months or more before we take a decision on your project.  Please note usually we will not accept an application if the design has not completed RIBA Stage 2 and reached RIBA Stage 3 (Developed Design).

If a previous application has been approved, where a grant of less than £50,000 has been awarded, the charity is eligible to apply to the Foundation for 12 months after the approval date.  Where a grant of £50,000 or over has been awarded, the Foundation will not normally accept a further application within three years from the date of the award or final instalment.

If a previous application is declined, the charity is eligible to reapply 12 months after the previous request date.

Please note that competition is intense; we receive many more applications than we are able to fund.

If an application is declined, the charity is eligible to reapply 12 months after the previous request date.

Where a grant of £50,000 or less has been awarded, the charity is eligible to re-apply to the Foundation 12 months after the approval date. However, please note that once you have received a grant from The Foundation you may not be a priority for funding in the following year.

Where a grant of over £50,000 per annum has been awarded, the Foundation will not normally accept any further applications from the same charity within three years from the date of the award or final instalment.

How To Apply

Applications need to be submitted online.

Please note that we purposely do not have a word limit to allow applicants the space to give us the information necessary to explain the project and the need for funding, but please keep answers relevant, clear and summarise information.  

The Grant Appraisal Team may wish to discuss the application, and request further information in order to appraise the application before it is presented to Trustees.

The Chief Executive and Grants Team will report to the Trustees at the first available meeting and will notify the applicant of the Trustees’ decision.

Further information regarding the scheme, attachments and the application from can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions.

Information/Documents you will need:

  • Accounts:
    1. Latest signed accounts
    2. Income and expenditure figures for the last financial year (applicable if there has been a completed financial year since your latest signed accounts, but for which accounts have not yet been finalised and signed.)
  • Annual Budgets:
  1. Current annual budget (including information on how you have revised this due to the impact of COVID-19)
  2. Annual budget for year grant requested in (applicable if the request is for funding which would be used in the year after your current financial year.  This will often be the case when you are approaching your current year end.)
  • Project budget
  • Permission of the Chair/a Trustee and Senior Management Team to submit the request on behalf of the charity


You will need to create an account using your email address as part of the application process.  Once an account is created, you will receive email confirmation of this within a few minutes.  If this is not received, please contact the Grants Team before proceeding.

You will be able to save an application you are working on and return to it later via your account.  A copy of the application questions can be emailed to yourself or others after you begin to complete the form.

  1. Click on the following link to create or access your account.  From here you can access in progress applications and view previously submitted applications.
  1. Click on one of the following links to start a Main Grants Scheme application/enquiry form (please note the different application form options):


  1. Charity applying for project, equipment or core costs – application form
  2. Charity applying for building project costs (request under £75,000) – application form
  3. Charity seeking to apply for building project costs (request £75,000 and over) – enquiry form


  1. State school – application form (as stated above, if applying for a library/reading resources, please apply under the School Library Scheme)

Note that applications you are working on will timeout after 60 minutes.  The timer is reset either when you save or navigate between pages.  Typing alone will not reset the timer.

Some applicants choose to type their answers onto a Microsoft Word document and then copy and paste onto the online form once ready to submit their application.

Further information regarding the scheme, attachments and the application from can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions.

Personal Information

The Foyle Foundation is committed to protecting all personal information you provide to us. We will only use contact information you provide for administration, evaluation and research purposes to facilitate our grant making and to further our charitable activities. Personal contact information will not be made public in anyway.  Please also see our Privacy Notice.