Handy hints to help your bid

For every successful idea we fund, there’s another that doesn’t quite meet the criteria for one reason or another.


Some bids are a clear and easy ‘Yes’, while others are a straightforward ‘No’. For example, it may be a proposal that doesn’t address our aims, a business start up investment or an artist project that could be a Grants for the Arts bid. It might be a brilliant and exciting idea, but if it isn’t testing something that will help us with our research, we cannot fund it.

The majority of submissions warrant further discussion and we hope this list will help you shape your bid. It’s neither an exhaustive list, nor a guarantee of success, but will hopefully help to focus your application. You don’t have to address all of these points, but if your application doesn’t address any of them, it may need further work.

Be specific:

People, places, costs, timescales – who are, and where are your audiences? When and where will your project take place? Example: Milton Creek Country Park Event Day.

Be realistic:

You don’t have to include every art form within your project – create one thing that’s exceptional rather than overstretch yourself. Some of the best projects are the simplest. Example: Natasha Steer’s CreataboX.

Do your homework before you bid:

Ask your potential audience and partners what they want or need – you need to demonstrate the demand for what you’re proposing. Example: Laurie Harpum’s Love Sheppey Event 2014


Is anyone else already doing something similar, for example, working with the same target group or audience? Has it been done before? The Small Experiments funding is exactly that – it’s for testing new ways of working and introducing new things to a new audience. Example: Roy Smith’s Augmented Reality Game.


Identify partners who can inform, shape and help deliver the project. Example: Time Bleeds (For the Fallen) – Debra McGee. Working with the Royal Engineers Museum and Blue Town Heritage Centre.

Identify a community group to work with:

You don’t have to do something for everyone – people have different needs. Who has connections to your new, targeted audience? Example: Blankets, by Nicolas Flower, with the Sittingbourne Blind Association.

Use our map:

Medway and Swale have been identified as areas of low arts engagement – but some areas within them are lower than others. Is there as much need in Rochester and Faversham, as there is in, say, Lordswood or Doddington? Example: Oasthouse Community Centre, Rainham.


Is your idea easily adaptable to roll out across other areas? Example: The Contrarian Librarians.

Match funding:

You need to raise 10% of the budget in cash. This could come from other public funding, or from ticket sales or from your own pocket. While we value your time whether paid or in-kind, the majority of your budget should be spent on the project itself: Our decision panel recommend that project management fees shouldn’t exceed 15% of the total bid.

Finally – get in contact first:

Let us meet you and find out more about you. Do you have a track record of doing stuff in your community? Or have you been inspired to test something for the first time?

This programme is to test new ways of involving the community in arts and creative activity, and we’re keen to support ideas that inspire people to get involved. We’re looking for experiments that will provide information, data, evidence or answers about engaging new audiences which will help inform the next stage of the programme.

Don’t be afraid to discuss your initial ideas with us, however outlandish they may seem at first – brainstorming is good!

Good luck!