Scottish Government emergency funds for Youth Arts

Published: 12 Nov 2020

Children sing in front of microphones and xylophones

Images: Anne Binckebanck, courtesy of Drake Music

18 Youth Music and Youth Arts organisations have received a total of £1,053,000 to help the recovery of Youth Arts across Scotland and ensure creative opportunities for children and young people continue despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through this funding, organisations like Engage Scotland, Film Access Scotland, Starcatchers, YDance, Drake Music Scotland and Feisean nan Gaidheal - see full list of recipients, in table below - will deliver a range of local and national projects, all of which target priority groups of children and young people and provide important work for freelance artists.

Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop said: “Youth music and youth arts organisations across Scotland are playing an important role in the lives of young people during these difficult times.

“This funding will support these organisations to expand their work and provide creative opportunities to young people as well as work and income for the artists and practitioners working with them through these projects.”

Sarah YearsleyEngage Scotland Coordinator said: “At this challenging time this funding will enable Engage Scotland to support youth arts infrastructure and activity in the visual arts and gallery education sector in Scotland.

“We are looking forward to working with young people aged 16-25, freelance artists and partners in the sector to co-produce a collaborative and responsive programme with a particular focus on demonstrating new, innovative and creative models of engaging with young people and the visual arts.”

Natalie UsherChief ExecutiveFilm Access Scotland said: “Film Access Scotland and its members are delighted to be one of the recipients of this Youth Arts funding and to contribute towards ensuring that creative opportunities continue to exist for young people across Scotland at this critical time through our Making Sense of a Changing World project.”

Thursa Sanderson, Chief Executive, Drake Music said: “This funding will enable us to forge ahead with Sound Explorers, a new programme of online activity. It responds positively to the changed learning landscape for young people with additional support needs - offering an interactive and fun way to make music.

“It will directly tackle the lack of access to music making for young people with disabilities and additional support needs caused by the Covid pandemic removing the barriers for those isolating at home and those in the classroom."

A child in a wheelchair smiles in a room full of people

These awards are the first to be announced from the Scottish Government’s £3million funding package for Youth Arts.  Further announcements will follow regarding recipients of at least £1.2million through the Access to Youth Arts Fund, the £700,000 Small Grants Scheme and £50,000 assigned to the Time to Shine Nurturing Talent Fund.

Iain Munro, CEO, Creative Scotland said: “All the emergency funds currently being delivered by Creative Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government are vital in addressing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m particularly pleased that we are able to announce today the first recipients of this Youth Arts funding which will reach some of the children and young people most adversely affected by the pandemic and provide important work for freelance artists whose opportunities have been so severely impacted by Covid-19.”

The full list of recipients of these funds are:

Organisation (Trading name)Local Authority AreaFunding Amount
Drake Music ScotlandDundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highland£61,880
Fèisean nan GàidhealHighland, National£30,000
Fèis RoisHighland£64,820
Film Access ScotlandNational£40,744
National Piping CentreNational£37,477
National Youth Choir of ScotlandAberdeen, Glasgow National£64,820
National Youth Orchestras of ScotlandGlasgow, Stirling£30,000
Scottish Book TrustNational£64,820
Scottish Brass Band AssociationNational£50,680
Scottish Music CentreNational£64,820
Scottish Youth TheatreNational£64,079
Sistema ScotlandDundee, Aberdeen£50,805
Starcatchers*Edinburgh, Fife£193,605
Tinderbox CollectiveEdinburgh, Perth and Kinross£64,820
Toonspeak Young Peoples TheatreGlasgow£44,448
YDanceNorth Lanarkshire£35,892
Youth Theatre Arts ScotlandNational£48,939
  Total: £1,053,393.00

*Starcatchers led consortium working in partnership with Imaginate and Lyra.

Updates on all emergency funds are being published regularly on this website and publicised through media and social media communications.


The Youth Arts funding announced today is part of a series of emergency funds from the Scottish Government being delivered by Creative Scotland to help mitigate the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on the creative and cultural sector. The emergency funds announced by the First Minister on Friday 28 August are as follows:

  • £5million Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers, including a fund for freelancers working in Screen, which opened for applications on Monday 26 October. The Fund - which has been enhanced to £8million from an additional £3milion from the Scottish Government announced on Tuesday 3 November - reopened for further applications on Tuesday 10 November.
  • £15million Culture Organisation and Venues Recovery Fund which opened for applications on Thursday 17 September with a deadline of Thursday 24 September. 348 applications were received totalling over £22million. The first tranche of £11.75million made to 203 recipients were announced on Thursday 5 November.  The second tranche will be announced on Thursday 19 November.
  • £3.5million Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund, which opened for applications on Monday 14 September with a deadline of Monday 5 October. Recipients were announced on Tuesday 3 November.
  • £3.5million additional funds for Creative Scotland’s Open Fund which is open for applications to individuals and organisations on a rolling basis.
  • £1.5million for the Culture Collective programme (part of the £5million Sustaining Creative Practice Fund, referred to in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government), supporting organisations employing freelance artists to work in and with communities across Scotland. The programme launched on Tuesday 3 November.

Previously announced funds from the Scottish Government are:

The Scottish Government emergency funds being administered through Creative Scotland are part of the Scottish Government’s announcement of Friday 28 August of £59million emergency funding for culture and heritage. That funding comes from the £97million in UK Government consequentials for the culture and heritage sectors.

This is in addition to the £23.5million previously awarded through the Creative, Tourism, Hospitality and Hardship Fund and £128million through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.

More information about Covid-19 funding and resources can be accessed via, and through Creative Scotland’s Resource Directory for COVID-19.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

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