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Project information

Awards Programme

Young people with musical talent from low-income families are struggling against the odds to fulfill their potential. Our Awards programme gives individual support for children’s musical progression across the UK, transforming their chances of achieving their goals.

March 2019 - March 2020

Charity information: Awards for Young Musicians

Awards for Young Musicians logo
  • Need


    Our Awards are tackling a national issue: if young talent is lost both the child and the UK music industry lose. UCAS Conservatoires report that music students are now 6 times more likely to be from privileged than from poorer families. Music at A Level has dropped by 7% in a year, as schools cut subjects not included in the English Baccalaureate, and take-up at GCSE has dropped too. Music Education Hub funding is also in danger, impacting on poorer children’s musical chances.


    Our Awards programme tackles the barriers faced by talented young people from low income families; we combine individual, funding support, that best suits each child’s musical needs, with wider support for their musical progression; this includes skills development, plus access to unique opportunities (from performances to peer-led mentoring). In addition, we provide networking and broader support from a community of other young musicians, facing similar challenges.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To support the key musical costs of musically talented children from low income families.


    » We’ll provide individual Awards to 220 young people in 2019

    What success will look like

    We will raise the funds needed to support our award winners.

    Aim 2

    To give them access to a host of musical opportunities they would never otherwise benefit from.


    » We’ll connect our Award winners with our musical partners, providing a range of support including observing rehearsals, accessing masterclasses etc.

    What success will look like

    Each Award winner will access at least 2 top-level musical opportunities with orchestras and others e.g. workshops, festivals, mentoring, summer schools, concert tickets etc.

    Aim 3

    To considerably enhance their musical skills through new music-making with top professionals


    » We will partner with professionals throughout the UK and strategically plan for our Award winners to access workshops and performance experiences

    What success will look like

    We will programme at least 10 concerts across the UK during 2019, enabling Award winners to perform in a range of contexts and helping grow our donor network.

    Aim 4

    To increase their confidence through being part of a community of peers from similar backgrounds.


    » Our Awards Days, with major orchestras, enables children and parents to meet and network, raising confidence and strengthening aspirations.

    What success will look like

    We will successfully deliver our 12th annual Awards Day, open to all Award winners, partnering with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Maida Vale Studios

  • Impact


    We would expect these young musicians to continue to achieve great musical success e.g BBC Young Musician 2014 was won by Martin Bartlett, supported by us for 10 years whilst 2/3 of the 2016 BBC Young Musician concerto finalists were AYM supported. Every year about 10% of the NYO also comprises AYM supported young people. Other recent successes for our young musicians include winning the Marguerite Long Piano Competition in Paris, gaining a place in the Menuhin Competition etc.


    The main risks are not being able to raise sufficient funding to support our target number of 220 young musicians. However we have an effective fundraising strategy in place, including plans to further expand our Angels scheme for donors. Arts Council England funding has enabled us to employ a Development Manager who is building a regional fundraising network through targeted mail campaigns and events throughout the UK, as well as doing even more research and applications to Trusts/Foundations.


    We'll report on progress through both ongoing personal communications but also through our quarterly online newsletter which will update donors on the impact of their support. Our events programme also enables donors to hear our progress as well as hearing our Award winners perform and meeting them

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £134,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £120,000 Awards funding Awards to 220 young people, with a value between £200 to £2000
      £4,000 Programme Costs Audition and Adjudication
      £2,000 Publicity Programme advertisement channels to ensure those who need our support know about us
      £8,000 Programme management Assistant Director's time in managing the programme

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Kirby Laing Foundation £7,500 Guaranteed
    May 1961 Charitable Trust £7,000 Guaranteed
    AYM Angels (regular donors) £40,000 Guaranteed
    Sutasoma Trust £1,500 Guaranteed
    The Goldsmiths' company charity £5,000 Guaranteed
    The Castansa Trust £5,000 Conditional
  • Background


    The Awards programme supports young people across the UK, from the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Wight, so is not specific to any one geographical area: our focus is on supporting young people who demonstrate both exceptional potential and financial need. We work hard every year to develop partnerships in areas from which we receive proportionately fewer applications (e.g. West Midlands) so as to give eligible young people the best possible chance of finding us and benefiting from our support.


    Our Awards programme helps children and young people (aged 5-17 years) making music in any genre and who show exceptional musical talent, and whose families are on low incomes (applications are strictly means tested) to become the very best musicians they can be. The average gross annual family income of the young musicians we currently support is just £20k. Families are often facing other challenges beyond financial disadvantage too ranging from rural isolation to being child carers.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 19 years experience of working effectively with young musicians facing financial and other challenges and our work is focused on addressing their needs. We combine direct, individual, sustained support beyond funding with targeted interventions designed to improve the broader music education environment. Our support is transformative: not only do children go on to musical success (e.g. BBC Young Musician) but many also gain scholarships to top schools and places at Oxbridge too.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Hester Cockcroft, Director, Awards For Young Musicians

    With 20 years in the arts Hester is an experienced manager of young people focused creative programmes. She will oversee programme delivery

    Hannah Turner, Assistant Director, Awards For Young Musicians

    Hannah manages the day-to-day programme from streamlining the Awards management system to offering help and advice to young people and parents.

    Philip Jones, Chair Of Trustees, Awards For Young Musicians

    A former partner at Accenture, Philip oversees AYM strategy and operations and is a critical friend to programme development.

    Karen Humphreys, Head Of Junior Royal Northern College Of Music

    Karen chairs our expert panel of Awards Adjudicators, with 4 other senior colleagues (all donate their time pro bono to the programme).


will enable us to provide an average Award and a year of support to a highly talented young musician

AYM is invaluable to the many fantastic young musicians who are finding it increasingly difficult to showcase their talents. It is a jewel in the crown of British music making – long may it continue!

Julian Lloyd Webber, Patron