Foyle Foundation

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Foyle Foundation. Last year, the foundation, registered as a charity in July 2000 to implement the terms of the will of the late Christina Foyle, distributed around £9m in grants. Beneficiaries include schools, youth groups and children’s charities.

Illustration: One Line Man/Adobe Stock
Illustration: One Line Man/Adobe Stock

Foyle was the daughter of William Foyle who co-founded the family owned bookshop Foyles in London’s Charing Cross Road, which she continued to manage after her father’s death.

There are three grant programmes, with a maximum funding of £500,000 available for projects that support young people through arts and learning, with a particular emphasis on expanding access to this.

What are the grants and how much is available?

The main grants scheme is for UK-based organisations with an annual turnover of £150,000 or more and whose main purpose is for arts and learning.

Main grant scheme applicants can apply for between £10,000 and £500,000, although the majority of grants range from £10,000 to £50,000, unless for large capital applications.

Small grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available for charities working at grass-roots and community level. They do not need to be focused on arts and learning and can apply for support for a wide range of activities.

A third grant scheme supports school libraries specifically. Grants should be used within two years.

What projects are funded through main grants?


The foundation seeks bids that “make a strong artistic case” for support in either the performing or visual arts. This includes projects aimed at helping to make the arts more accessible by developing new audiences, supporting tours, festivals and arts educational projects; encouraging new work and supporting young and emerging artists; and building projects that improve or re-equip existing arts venues. In 2018, it made 121 arts grants totalling £3.8m.


It is keen to support projects that 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; and projects and activities that increase access and diversity. Citizenship, esteem-building, training, skills acquisition to aid employment, independent living, early learning projects or playgroups are not generally considered. In 2018, it made 69 learning-related grants totalling £3.9m.


Dedicated schools and colleges catering for those with special educational needs can bid for funding for educational projects. State-funded mainstream schools can occasionally receive main grants for other projects with direct educational/arts benefits – but they must demonstrate why their project cannot be funded from statutory or other funding. There were 196 schools grants worth £837,800 made in 2018.

What is funded through small grants?

The foundation says that competition for small grant funding is intense – last year it received 581 applications and made 219 grants totalling £877,690.

The one-year grants can cover core costs, equipment, capital or project funding for charities that can show that such a grant will make a significant difference to their work. “If you cannot demonstrate this, your application will be declined,” the guidance states. “Demonstrating ongoing sustainability is also important, particularly if you have recently lost local authority or other regular funding,” it adds.

When can grants be applied for?

Applications are accepted all year round, there are no deadlines for submission. Except for large capital projects, it may take up to four months, occasionally longer, to receive a decision from the trustees, so apply well in advance.

For capital projects seeking more than £75,000 the foundation will only consider these twice a year in the spring and autumn. It could be six months or more before decisions on bids are made.

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

Where a grant of £50,000 or less has been awarded, the charity is eligible to reapply to the foundation 12 months after the approval date.

Where a grant of over £50,000 per annum has been awarded, the foundation will not normally accept further applications from the same charity within three years.

Funding roundup

  • Six organisations are to share funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery Community Fund to champion the importance of good safeguarding and locally available sources of advice and support. The Social Care Institute for Excellence, Voluntary Action Leeds and the Federation of London Youth Clubs are three of the organisations to receive funding.
  • Grants totalling £1.16m are to be allocated to 168 youth and community groups in England through the UK Youth Fund. Grants ranging from £360 up to £20,000 will fund sports clubs, counselling services, creative writing workshops, crime prevention sessions and equipment for children with disabilities.
  • A six-year partnership with Rank has seen £2.5m raised for Carers Trust. Employees from Rank’s Mecca and Grosvenor venues and support offices have raised money to help 11,670 unpaid carers, who have been supported by Carers Trust and its Network Partners. This includes respite care, education courses and crisis support.
  • A programme at HMP Winchester that works to improve the lives of children and families affected by imprisonment has received a major funding boost. Invisible Walls, run by Spurgeons Children’s Charity, supports fathers to improve their parenting skills and build and maintain healthy relationships with their children and families while in prison and post-release. The programme has been awarded £450,000 by the National Lottery Community Fund to continue its work over the next three years.

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