News > Public funding agencies for international work

Public funding agencies for international work

There are a limited number of public funding agencies that have specific programmes to support international work, residencies and exchanges. However it is sometimes possible to apply to broader funding programmes for international work. Here is a brief guide to some public funding agencies in the UK, indicating specific international funding programmes where they exist (in 2010).


Lottery funding

Awards for All

Awards for All is a Lottery grants scheme for local communities. There are different schemes for each of the four countries of the UK. It is supported by each region’s respective Arts Council, their equivalent sports body and the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery Fund. Grants range between £500 and £10,000 for people to take part in art, sport, heritage and community activities, and projects that promote education, the environment and health in the local community. NB the grant must be spent within a year. Awards cannot be given to profit-making companies or individuals There is no main international grant, but applicants can fit their proposals around certain criteria listed e.g. “Introducing people to alternative cultures through participation in storytelling and drama”; “Involving more people in a community event publicity materials, venue hire, research cost.” You can also apply for specific parts of a project e.g. marketing, venue hire etc.

The Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund was formed from the merger of New Opportunities Fund and Community Fund. Big Lottery Fund gives grants to projects that improve health, education and the environment and support voluntary groups, helping those most in need. Similar to Awards for All it focuses strongly on the community with one of its main remit being to revitalise communities, with a particular emphasis on helping the disadvantaged.

Complete online guide to Lottery Funding

For more details of the UK’s Lottery Funding, please visit a joint website run by all Lottery funders in the UK. This site allows you to search information on current funding programmes across the UK.

Funds from trusts and foundations

The Association of Charitable Foundations

The Directory of Social Change

DSC publishes some books that provide information on grant-making trusts which are available from its website The DSC also has a new searchable database of grant making trusts. It requires a subscription.

Arts & business

Through 12 UK regional offices, Arts & Business acts as a crucible where businesses and arts organisations come together to create partnerships to benefit themselves and the community at large. Each A&B region runs A&B programmes and services, to bring together the arts and business communities locally.


NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. They are the largest single endowment devoted exclusively to supporting talent, innovation and creativity in the UK. NESTA’s mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation and they invest in early stage companies, inform innovation policy and encourage a culture that helps innovation to flourish. NESTA uses its resources to build and test new models of innovation, often working in partnership with other organisations.

Wellcome Trust – Arts Awards

The Wellcome Trust believes the arts are an effective way of stimulating debate and engaging people with biomedical science. Visual art, music, moving image, creative writing and performance can reach new audiences which may not traditionally be interested in science and provide new ways of thinking about the social, cultural and ethical issues around contemporary science. Collaborative and interdisciplinary practice across the arts and sciences can help to provide new perspectives on both fields. The arts can also provide imaginative ways of engaging and educating young people in the field of science. The Arts Awards support projects that engage the public with biomedical science through the arts.

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Anglo-Portuguese cultural relations – promotion of contemporary Portuguese culture in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Other areas for grants are arts, education and social welfare. No specific international remit but there may be possibilities if the project is connected with Portugal.

Clore Duffield Foundation

Small Grants Programme

Funds performing arts education initiatives aimed at children and young people (0-18 year olds). Projects outside the UK funded very rarely. Areas of work: Arts/museums, education, elderly and disadvantaged, Jewish charities.

The Foyle Foundation

The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making trust that distributes grants to UK charities whose core work is in the areas of learning, the arts and health. Supports visual and performing arts – helps make arts more accessible by developing new audiences, supporting tours, festivals and arts education projects and by encouraging new work and supporting young and emerging artists.

Trusts & Foundations

UK trusts and foundations prefer to fund those areas which Government funding cannot fully cover, such as one-off projects, access to services for disadvantaged, minority groups and experiments using new methods to tackle existing problems. The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) promotes good practice among trusts and foundations and seeks to educate the public about their work. ACF’s website contains useful tips on how to apply for funds and a list of charitable organisations.

Commonwealth Foundation

Alongside its civil society work, the Commonwealth Foundation also has a mandate to support arts and culture in the Commonwealth. The Foundation recognises the value of cultural and artistic expression to national life, and the central place of culture in development. It currently supports cultural exchange through a range of programmes.

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