Inspiring London through Culture
Who we are
The City of London Corporation aims to keep the Square Mile as the creative heart of a world-leading city of culture. It also wishes to fulfil its historic role as a steward of unique heritage of international importance. The City is one of the great cultural hubs of London, much visited from all around the world, with a wealth of things to see and do and a vibrant mix of artistic activity.
The City Corporation is one of the UK’s major funders of culture and heritage and directly supports institutions and activities in these fields. It also recognises and welcomes the wide range of organisations, large and small, who further enrich the Square Mile’s cultural offer and who may benefit from additional support or sponsorship to help initiatives to develop.
Where we fund
Grants issued through the ‘Inspiring London through Culture’ theme will be awarded to projects that are being delivered for the benefit of communities or beneficiaries within the City of London (the Square Mile).
Projects must either have some or all benefits delivered within the City of London or engage with the City’s resident and/or worker communities (at any location). Applicants may be based outside the City.
Please make sure that you meet the geographical eligibility criteria before applying. If you are unsure, please get in touch to confirm your eligibility.
What we fund
The scheme deliberately seeks to be open-minded and imaginative in defining the kinds of activities or projects which can be supported. However, proposals must deliver some (or all) of their benefits within the Square Mile or amongst communities from the Square Mile (at any location), as well as meet at least one of the following core criteria:
- Promote access for all to participate in the City of London’s cultural offer
- Enhance London’s creative future through championing excellence in the development of innovative practice and/or skills;
- Deliver positive social impact through culture and/or heritage in the City of London; and/or
- Support the development of the City of London’s Culture Mile.
In addition, we positively welcome and will prioritise proposals that:
- Engage with people living or working in the Square Mile;
- Engage with new audiences, attracting people from a wide variety of backgrounds and locations to participate in the City’s cultural offer;
- Animate places and spaces within the Square Mile;
- Encourage access to local buildings and local heritage within the Square Mile;
- Improve health and wellbeing;
- Use technology to deliver cultural excellence;
- Highlight environmental issues and promote sustainability;
- Build organisational capacity;
- Support entrepreneurialism;
- Build innovative partnerships (especially with one or more of the cultural/heritage providers already operating within the City); and/or
- Demonstrate some level of match-funding, noting we value opportunities where City funding can help to lever in funding from other sources
This funding theme has a modest amount of funding, so large projects are beyond its scope. It is anticipated that individual grants will not exceed £10,000.
Proposals will be considered and decided by a group of expert officers from across the City, with decisions reported to the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee.
Who we fund
Your organisation must be one of the following:
- Registered charity
- Registered community interest company
- Registered charitable incorporated organisation
- Charitable company (incorporated as a not-for-profit)
- Exempt or excepted charity
- Registered charitable industrial and provident society or charitable cooperative (bencom)
- Constituted voluntary organisation
If you are an individual seeking funding, please refer to our FAQ below.
The City Corporation welcomes applications from all those interested in applying to this scheme, from small amateur and community groups to larger-scale professional companies. The panel’s assessment of applications will be proportionate to the anticipated capacity and skills of the applicant.
The minimum grant allowed is £500 and the maximum that will be considered is £10,000.
To apply for a grant, you will need to complete an online application form by the corresponding deadline and submit this electronically with your supporting documents to the Central Grants Unit.
You should send your application to us well before the stated deadline to allow us to process your application in time. We will only consider one application from your organisation at anyone time.
All application forms should be completed through the City Corporation's grants web portal. Application forms in large print, Braille or audio will be offered to applicants by special request.
As part of your application, you should provide:
- A project description, clearly explaining how your proposal meets with the criteria listed under 'What we fund' section;
- A detailed income and expenditure budget for your project;
- A marketing or audience development plan; and
- A plan for the sustainability of the project, if long-term.
Applicants may be based outside the City. However, your project must either have some or all benefits delivered within the City of London or engage with the City’s resident and/or worker communities (at any location).
Once we have received your online application and all supporting documents, it will be passed to one of our staff for assessment. As part of this process, a Funding Officer may contact you for more information.
We will acknowledge receipt of your application within ten working days of it being received. If your application is not complete, it will be returned to you and you will have a further ten working days to send us the missing information.
We may also arrange a visit to your organisation as part of the assessment process. Once a full assessment has been completed, your request will be referred a panel of expert officers for assessment.
The timescales to process your application may vary; however, we will endeavour to ensure your application is assessed within 12 weeks of the closing date. You should take account of this when planning your project.
The panel’s assessment of applications will be proportionate to the anticipated capacity and skills of the applicant.
If we fund your project, we will need you to complete an end-of-grant monitoring report to confirm how the grant has been spent and what you achieved. Please make sure that you keep receipts for all the items or services you buy with the grant and that you keep them somewhere safe as we may ask you to provide them.
We may also visit you to check how the grant has been spent.
Please keep us up to date if your project or any of your contact details change at any stage during the period of your grant.
If your application is successful, an initial offer letter detailing the level of grant awarded will be issued. This may contain special conditions relating to the grant award or pre-agreement grant conditions.
Grant acceptance terms and conditions will be subsequently issued which should be signed and returned within 20 working days.
Once all documentation has been received and approved you would be asked to formally request payment of your grant award. The grant should be spent within 12 months of it being awarded.
Note: You cannot start your project until we have received, checked and approved all information that we have requested.
Due to the limited budget available and the number of applications for funding we receive, we unfortunately cannot provide funding to every applicant that applies for a grant. Grants are therefore issued on a discretionary basis; there is no appeal process, and the decision of the City Corporation is final.
You are welcome to request feedback from your assessing officer on why your application was unsuccessful.
We urge all applicants who are unsure about whether to submit an application to read all available eligibility criteria on our website.
If you have an enquiry that is not covered within the online guidance, please contact the City of London Central Grants Unit directly, who will be able provide answers to general queries regarding the application process.
You may reapply for funding to deliver a continuation of the same project. However, organisations cannot hold more than one of our grants at any one time.
If you are a current grant holder, you will need to have satisfactorily met all our grant monitoring requirements before applying again.
There are some things which we are unable to pay for, and these are shown below:
- Activities that have already taken place or start before we confirm our grant
- Any costs you incur when putting together your application
- Fundraising activities for your organisation or others
- Core running costs (administration and overheads)
- Items that are purchased on behalf of another organisation
- Loans or interest payments
- Projects that actively promote religious or political activities
- Purchase of alcohol
If you would like to discuss your application, email the Central Grants Team.
Don't match the criteria?
If you don't match the criteria for the Central Grants Programme, visit the City Bridge Trust, the Community Infrastructure Levy Neighbourhood Fund or the Trusts and charities pages to see if you are eligible to apply for other projects.