Sir Hubert von Herkomer Arts Foundation

Culture Seeds

Culture Seeds is now closed for applications

Culture Seeds was a two-year funding programme offering grants of between £1,000-£5,000. It closed for applications on Friday, 6 March at midday.

Grants support community-led cultural projects in every London borough.

Culture Seeds supports not-for-profit, small or informal organisations and groups as well as individuals as it is often harder for them to access funding.

Culture Seeds is part of the Mayor of London’s Strategy for Culture, Culture for all Londoners. It's part of the Mayor’s ambition to put culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs.


What we fund

The Mayor wants to see more local arts and culture activities created and led by London’s communities. That’s why Culture Seeds is aimed firmly at grassroots organisations and individuals.

The grants are for funding community-led arts, culture and heritage projects and activities. This includes:

  • visual and performing arts (like music, dance and theatre)
  • filmmaking and film screenings
  • heritage projects
  • digital art
  • cultural events/festivals
  • literature, spoken word, reading groups
  • craft and making activities
  • choirs/singing groups
  • creative writing

Projects must have local people at their heart. We want projects that offer shared creative experiences to bring communities together. We will prioritise projects that support people on lower incomes, and connect communities that lack access to cultural resources and funding.

The programme will also offer successful applicants help with:

  • marketing and monitoring your project
  • applying for future funding
  • recruiting and working with volunteers

Who can apply?

  • individual Londoners
  • not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of less than £50,000

You don’t have to be a formally constituted group. However, you should have a bank account with two signatories or nominate an organisation who can accept the funds on your behalf.

You must also provide two referees who can vouch for your work in your local community.

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for anything between £1,000-£5,000.

Culture Seeds will fund small projects where our funding will make a big difference. You do not need to have any other ‘match’ funding to apply and, in fact, we are unlikely to support projects where our funding makes up a smaller percentage of the overall project costs.

6 Top tips for applying to Culture Seeds

Our Culture Seeds Co-ordinator, Anne Hartley, offers some top tips for writing a successful application.

We aimed to create a simple and straightforward funding programme with a few key questions to help us understand your project and who will be involved. However, I know that fundraising can still be a confusing process if you’re not on the inside. Here are my recommendations for writing a strong Culture Seeds application.

1. Read the prospectus and guidance notes

Before you write anything, have a good read through the guidance notes. Make sure that your project is eligible and meets the criteria. 

Not all projects are suitable for all funding programmes. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, if you only fill out applications for funding programmes where your project strongly meets the aims.  

If you’re still not sure whether your project is right for Culture Seeds, get in contact with us before you apply: 

Phone: 020 7239 1292 
Email: [email protected]

Or come along to one of our roadshows to hear more about Culture Seeds and talk to someone about your project. 

2. Clearly describe you and your project

Remember that the people making a decision on your application don’t know you or your work. Make sure you clearly tell us who you are and what you have done with your community before.

Clearly describe what activities will happen and what people will take part in. If you’re running workshops – tell us about what will happen in a workshop and what benefits this will have for your community.

It’s a good idea to ask someone who isn’t connected to your project to read through your application before you submit it. Ask them to describe to you what they think you’re doing and who will be involved. If it isn’t clear, have a rewrite.

3. Be clear on how your community have been involved in planning and influencing this project

Culture Seeds supports community-led arts, culture and heritage projects across London. We need to know how your community are leading or shaping your project. You must be able to explain how you are connected to your community and how you have included their views when you created this project. Examples could include:

  • You may have a local steering group.
  • You might meet regularly with your community or members who have said that they want this project to happen.
  • Perhaps you have run a small pilot and know that your community want more. 
  • Have you had lots of informal conversations that have identified a need for this project?
  • Do people regularly ask for more creative activities in your community?

Make sure that your referees can talk about your work within your community.

4. Make it sound fun and exciting

When you’re sat in front of an application form, it’s very easy to forget that you’re talking other human beings.

  • We want to feel excited about the projects that we’re funding;
  • We want to hear your voice and the voice of your community in the application;
  • We want to know why this is important and how it’s going to bring people together in a creative activity.

Try to get across your passion for the project and the people involved.

5. Double check you budget

Make sure you check your budget and that it adds up to the total income for your project.

6. Check your start and end dates

Check your start date. Make sure its six-weeks after you’ve submitted your application. We can’t support anything that starts within six-weeks of submitting your application.

Also, make sure that you have allowed enough time between our decision and starting your project.

Don’t make any financial commitments to anyone until you have received an offer from us.

“Once we got the funding, it gave us the confidence and motivation that it had real potential to be great!”

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