Applying to the Cathedral Music Support Programme

Cathedral Music Trust invites applications from eligible organisations to our Cathedral Music Support Programme. Organisations can apply for up to £30,000 to be spent within two years.

Read on for more information.


Through the Cathedral Music Support Programme, we want to help address key challenges across the sector by working alongside choral foundations’ music departments to support excellence, broaden participation and develop sustainability. We will focus our support on activities lasting more than one year that can demonstrate significant impact and have the best chance of achieving long-term success, for example, by working in partnership with others.

We aim to offer more than just financial support. We intend to keep in contact with recipients of our funds, offering help at key points along the way, for example, on initial project design and plans for monitoring and evaluation. Our involvement will be ‘light touch’. In most cases it will take the form of a listening ear; our aim being to help recipients make the best use of our funding.

There is a two-stage application process for our support. Stage one involves the completion of an online application form. Stage two (for applicants successful at stage one) comprises a friendly online discussion.

Key dates

Tuesday 2 January 2024
Application window opened

Webinar for Applications (Recording)
Webinar on applying to the Cathedral Music Support Programme



Friday 23 February 2024, 11.59pm
Stage one application deadline

April and May 2024
Stage two discussions

June 2024
Announcement of successful recipients of our support

Who can apply?

An organisation can apply for support if:

  • It is a place of Christian worship of a recognised denomination from the UK, a UK Crown Dependency or the Republic of Ireland (e.g. cathedral, collegiate chapel, church)
  • It promotes the performance of cathedral-style choral repertoire
  • It sings a regular pattern of choral services most weeks during term time (e.g. Evensong, Vespers, Matins, Eucharist)

The vast majority of the organisations we support will sing at least three choral services most weeks during term time and other services throughout the year. In very exceptional circumstances, we may consider supporting organisations which do not sing as frequently if they make a strong case, but it is likely that our Church Choir Award would be a more appropriate programme for these organisations.

You can use our eligibility checker to see if you are eligible to apply for support. To get an accurate response, you must answer every question. You are welcome to talk to us if you would like to discuss your eligibility for support.

A choral scholar at Bangor Cathedral

How much can I apply for?

You may apply for up to £30,000 to spend over two years. Successful applicants in 2024 will not be eligible to apply again until 2026.

You may apply for up to 90% of the total budget cost. Applicants are expected to supply a minimum of 10% (or more) from their own resources or alternative sources of funding. This means that, if the total cost of your activity is £20,000, you can apply to us for £18,000 and you will need to find the additional £2,000 from other sources of income.

You should demonstrate in your budget that you either already have the funds in place or that you have a robust plan to raise the funds. We will consider contributing to larger scale projects (i.e. with costs significantly greater than £30,000) if you can demonstrate that a substantial part of the additional funding is already secured.

The majority of the costs you apply for should be project or revenue funding (i.e. for activities and their associated costs or for staff). Up to 20% may be for capital costs connected to your activity (such as the purchase of music).

Choristers at Peterborough Cathedral

What can I apply for?

We are keen to support activities which, where feasible, work with other partners (such as local music hubs and arts organisations), particularly if these partnerships will enable the work to continue beyond the term of our support. We would expect you to have spoken with your partners in advance of making an application. Ideally, your partners will be in a position to contribute matched funding or support in-kind.

The programme has three priority areas (Pathways to Music, Training and Development and Supporting the Workforce). We will only accept applications for well-designed programmes that address these priorities. Your activity may address more than one of these areas; applications which do, however, will not be prioritised over those which meet just one. Please select the most appropriate priority areas. This is important, as you will be asked different questions depending on the areas you select. You are welcome to talk to us in advance of submitting an application if you need guidance about which priority areas to apply for.

How the process works

  1. Stage one: you prepare an application and submit it to us (by the deadline) via the online form. The application form requests details about your work, including measurable outputs, outcomes and impact, and an itemised budget.

  2. We assess the applications and invite applicants whose work we believe will have the greatest impact to progress to stage two. At this point, we will also inform the applicants we will not be taking to stage two.

  3. Stage two: we will meet with applicants successful at stage one so that, together, we can discuss and refine your objectives, timeline, delivery plan and measures of success. We may ask for some supporting documentation in advance of the stage two meeting.

  4. If the work plan is agreed, we will contribute funds (up to an agreed maximum) to enable you to deliver your work.

  5. You begin the work (ideally by September 2024 but no later than 6 months after receipt of the funds).

  6. We will catch up with you at regular intervals to discuss progress, learn from your experiences and share advice and support.

  7. We will host online events for all recipients to facilitate peer support, networking and the sharing of good practice.

  8. We will offer support to help you monitor and evaluate your work, so that you are able to present a report demonstrating its impact.

  9. You submit an evaluation at the end of the term of our support, showing to what extent the work has met your stated outputs, outcomes and impact, and what you have learned from the work for the future. If your programme's duration is two years, we will ask for an interim report at the end of the first year.
Choral Scholars at Lichfield Cathedral

How is my application assessed?

At stage one, your application will be assessed by our Grants Panel. The Panel will rank the applications according to their potential for impact. The Panel takes into account the activity’s alignment with our mission (transforming lives through cathedral music), our objectives of excellence, participation and sustainability and the breadth and depth of the anticipated outcomes and impact. Applications which rank highly in this assessment will be invited to stage two.

Stage two comprises a friendly, online discussion with Cathedral Music Trust staff and representatives of the Grants Panel. We will discuss the evidence of the need for your activity and how the work outlined in your application will meet this need. We will look at your delivery plan, discuss the contributions (financial or in-kind) of any proposed partners and explore your plans for monitoring and evaluation. We may make suggestions as to how your plans may be refined or adjusted to make the best use of our support and may ask for some supporting documentation.

Reports from the stage two meetings will be considered by our Grants Panel and Trustees before final decisions are made.

It should be noted that we expect to receive more applications that rank highly in our assessment than we will be able to fund, including some applications that progress to stage two. This means that there are likely to be many good applications we are unable to support.

Please note that the ranking and deliberation of the Panel will not be made public but we do aim to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.


Apply online

If you have any questions about your eligibility for our grant programme and our assessment criteria, please do get in touch by email [email protected] or telephone 020 3151 6096. You are very welcome to discuss your application with us in advance of submission.

We process your data in accordance with our Grant Applicants and Recipients Privacy Notice.