Despite many schools across the UK being run via public funding, there are a lot of things that budgets don’t always allow for; additional books, computer access tools or sporting equipment, for example. Luckily there are many organisations and charitable funds in Britain that allow schools and educational institutions to apply for grants, helping to fund extra teaching aids and children’s play equipment.
Who Provides Grants?
There an array of both national and regional charities offering grants for schools, including those like the Arts Council and the Sports Council. A lot of small local Educational Trusts can also offer grants for both individuals and organisations, whilst money from the Lottery, European Funding and the UK Government and its agencies can also help.
One key tool to use when you start looking for funding is The Guide to Educational Grants directory. This is published by The Directory of Social Change and is updated every year to take into account the changing funds available. Most libraries have copies of this book, and it can also be bought from major online retailers. Another place to look if you don’t mind paying a yearly subscription fee is Grants4Schools. This website offers a searchable database of funding for primary and secondary schools, making it far easier to discover new sources of money from the European Union, UK Government, Grant Making Trusts, Lottery and even Commercial Sponsorships.
Types of Funding Available
There is almost an inexhaustible list of things that grants can be used to pay for in the educational sector. Whether your school needs to refurbish an old playground or is raising money to install green technologies, there is probably a source of funding available. Many of the organisations offering grants like to see schools and colleges taking some initiative and fundraising for themselves, with money being used to plug any gaps in the budget.
Grants can cover a huge variety of projects and activities including:
- Promoting sports activities and exercise
- Buying equipment like books, laptops, PCs and other similar items
- Installing renewable energy and green technologies like solar panels
- Enhancing the development of specific subjects like science, music or art
- Buying equipment to help pupils with special needs
- Improving or expanding existing school buildings, facilities and grounds
- Raising basic skill levels and the individual achievements of pupils
- Helping to provide professional development to members of school staff
Charitable Organisations Offering Help
One of the main sources of grants for many schools and colleges across the UK is from charitable organisations. Whilst some of these charities offer money to a wide array of causes, others are more specific in their criteria; focusing on children from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with disabilities, for example. It’s vital, therefore, to do your homework and ensure your project, and those it will benefit, fits with the eligibility criteria given by a charity. However, despite these potential problems, there are still many opportunities to have funding approved, not only allowing you to progress your school’s project but forge new relationships with charitable companies too.
Some organisations perfect for contacting include:
- Ernest Cook Trust
The Ernest Cook Trust has earned a name as being one of the UK’s leading educational funders. Grants are offered to state schools, charities and not-for-profit organisations that actively encourage children to take a greater interest in the environment, the countryside, the arts or to improve their numeracy and literacy skills.There are two main grant programmes; the large and the small which offer awards of over £4,000 and under £4,000 respectively. Applications need to have budgets and educational elements clearly showcased, as well as a detailed description of the project involved.
- The Eridge Trust
Part of the Eridge Trust’s aim is to get more youngsters into educational facilities like galleries, centres of art and museums. It offers grants to colleges, groups of schools and local authorities that can be used to undertake trips both in Britain and abroad.There is no need for students to be studying art at an academic level, but all projects need to actively encourage interest in the visual arts. Trips can be to local centres, some of the UK’s best galleries or even overseas. Money can be used to fund one individual unable to afford the trip or to lower the cost of the excursion for every pupil.
- The Lord Taverners
As well as providing their distinctive minibuses, the Lord Taverners also grant funding for outdoor, sensory and soft play equipment aimed at people under the age of 25 who have a sensory, learning or physical disadvantage. The organisation offers three different sensory room packages and can pay up to 80per cent of the cost for outdoor play equipment. The latter grant is available to mainstream schools that may have children with behavioural problems as pupils.
- Foyle Foundation
The Main Grant Scheme for Learning that’s offered by the Foyle Foundation provides money to support schools with special educational needs and those helping pupils with learning difficulties. The foundation also offers support to reduce overheads or contribute towards ongoing revenue for projects and education.One of the best benefits for state schools is the Foyles Schools Library Programme. The average grant offered is £10,000, and it provides a way to build or refurbish libraries.
Schools trying to generate money for new developments, or to buy extra resources for pupils to benefit from, should look to the many funding sources available across the UK. When applying to charities, getting pupils involved can be a good way to show your passion and enthusiasm for a project, encouraging organisations to grant funding. And, by using The Guide to Educational Funding directory, you should have plenty of resources when it comes to finding money for your school or college.