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.

January 2017 - December 2017

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 is designed to tackle the barriers talented young people from low-income families face through combining individual funding support that best suits each child’s musical needs with wider support for their musical progression, including skills development, access to unique opportunities (from performances to peer-led mentoring), as well as 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 2017

    We will raise sufficient funds to support our target of 220 children in 2017

    Aim 2

    To give them access to many 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.

    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.


    » Young musicians will take part in quality ensemble and research projects and perform at a diversity of venues from Goldsmiths’ Hall to the Highlands.

    We will programme at least 10 concerts across the UK during 2017, 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, enable children and parents to meet and network, raising confidence and strengthening aspirations.

    We will successfully deliver our tenth annual Awards Day, open to all 220 Award winners, aiming to partner with the BBC Philharmonic at the Royal Northern College of Music.

  • 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 concerto finalists are 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, 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. They are supporting our Ambition 1000 campaign via which we’re aiming to be helping 1000 young musicians each and every year and are regularly invited to exclusive events at venues from the House of Lords to Hatchlands Park in Surrey.


    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 Award winners perform as well as meet them and their families afterwards.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £152,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £120,000 Awards funding Awards to 220 young people, with a value between £200 to £2000
      £11,000 Access e.g. transport Musical opportunities (most are provided in-kind by our partners). Transport costs often priority.
      £13,000 Various Skills development, community building (e.g Awards Day), programme costs (publicity, auditions etc)
      £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) £60,000 Guaranteed
    Legacy (new one on its way) £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Awards programme supports young people across the UK, from the Isle of Skye to the Isle of White, 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 £22k. Families are often facing other challenges beyond financial disadvantage too ranging from rural isolation to being child carers.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 18 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).


£600 will fund a weekly 30 minute instrumental lesson for a talented young musician over one year

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