Music Awards and Funding

Help for musicians during the coronavirus pandemic

The Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund is making special funds - up to £500 available for individuals to apply for - specifically to support blind and partially sighted musicians who may be experiencing challenging times, as a result of the restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Musicians will need to demonstrate in their applications how the award will benefit their music work by purchasing equipment for home working, training to learn about new equipment or technology, gaining new skills, accessing business coaching online or to cover living costs associated with the challenges presented by coronavirus. 

For more information and to apply, download the application form.

Email your application form to [email protected] by 23:59pm on Monday 11 May. Applicants will find out if they have received an award during the week of 25 May. 

Download the application form


The Amber Trust

The Amber Trust was set up in 1995 to help blind and partially sighted children up to the age of 18, including those with additional disabilities, to access and enjoy music. Each year, the Amber Trust aims to raise around £100,000 to help as many children as possible reach their full potential. To enable blind or partially sighted children, from toddlers to teenagers, to access the music they enjoy, the Amber Trust provides funding for:

  • music lessons
  • music therapy sessions
  • the purchase of musical instruments
  • software or other equipment
  • concert tickets
  • travel related to musical activities.

For more information or to request an application form, please email [email protected] or visit the Amber Trust website.

The Webster and Davidson Mortification for the Blind

The Webster and Davidson Mortification for the Blind was set up by the Scottish legal firm Thornton’s to assist blind and partially sighted young people. The Trust's annual income provides a Musical Education Award and funding towards educational visits. 

The Trustees give awards to blind and partially sighted people to support their learning and appreciation of music, generally, but not exclusively, at secondary level of school study or further education or degree study. Recipients are usually awarded bursaries (normally tenable for one year with the possibility of renewal) and also in the form of grants for specific musical purposes. The trusts funds are not extensive and preference will be given to persons resident, or normally resident, in Scotland.

A PDF application form is available to download directly from Thornton’s Law LLP Website. Applications must be made in writing by 31 March each year.  

Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund
Phase Three: 2015 to 2020

Awards to, and on behalf of, blind or partially sighted musicians, for musical study, projects and events for the benefit of local, national and international communities. The Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund is in Phase Three, running from 2015 to 2020, it grants three types of awards A, B and C.

  • A: Major awards for individuals, up to £10,000 per bid, to blind or partially sighted UK citizens, aged 18 and over, to support their music making. These are awarded annually.
  • B: Major awards, up to £15,000 per bid, for those working on behalf of the music making of blind or partially sighted UK musicians. These are awarded annually.
  • C: Minor awards for individuals, up to £500 per bid, to blind or partially sighted UK citizens, aged 18 and over, to support their music making. These are awarded quarterly. 

During phase three, from 2015 to 2020, any one person may receive up to two major and two minor awards (A and C) and any one group or person may receive up to three major awards (B). Awards A and B run from 1 June to 31 July thirteen months on, in the year awarded. The closing time for applications for awards A and B is noon on 31 March each year, and as follows for award C:

  • 31 March for awards valid between 1 June and 31 August
  • 31 July for awards valid between 1 September and 30 November
  • 31 October for awards valid between 1 December and end of February
  • 31 January for awards valid between 1 March and 31 May.

All bids will be considered by an expert panel, with their decisions approved by RNIB. The awards are administered by RNIB’s Music Advisory Service. There are separate application forms for each type of award, A, B and C, available from [email protected]. Please contact the Music Advisory Service for further information, to request an application for or to discuss your bid.  

Information for applicants

Those in receipt of awards are required to arrange for invoices from third parties and to submit appropriate documentation for personal reimbursement. They're also required to submit quarterly reports for the panel on the benefits of the funding. Where appropriate the support of the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund is to be acknowledged in publications, programme notes, and on websites.

Background to the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund

Miss Elizabeth Eagle-Bott’s great interest was music. She learnt to play the organ in her sixties. She then played for her parish church for twenty years. Her desire to assist young musicians who are visually impaired arose from her attending an organ recital given by a student, who was blind, at the Royal College of Music. She appreciated that there are additional costs to be met in preparing for a career in music for students with little or no vision. Through her generous bequest, blind and partially sighted people who are musicians, or who aspire to be musicians, can receive substantial financial support.

The first phase of this award, from 2000 to 2009, allocated almost £100,000 to young classical musicians with a particular focus on preparing them for paid employment in the music business. The second phase of this award, from 2010 to 2015, spent just under £200,000 on a broader basis, including supporting third parties working on behalf of blind and partially sighted musicians. Applicants were also asked to consider the community impact of their bids.  

The EEB fund has enabled the website Raised Bar to develop the SurfaceReader application which provides improved speech feedback from any audio production program on Windows or Mac OSX when used in conjunction with a MIDI control surface. Control surfaces are hardware devices that allow more natural manipulation of music/audio data by providing buttons, knobs and faders which are more appropriate for performing these kinds of interactions. SurfaceReader is an on-going project, with new features and more devices being added as new hardware becomes available.

Thanks to funding from EEB, MuseScore has included the main features needed to produce Modified Stave Notation (MSN) in its latest release, version two, of its free music notation package, visit the MuseScore website for more information. For more information about MSN, please see the relevant links on the UKAAF website and the RNIB Music Advisory Service

For more general information about the Elizabeth Eagle Bott Memorial Fund, please email [email protected].

Help Musicians UK

Help Musicians UK is the leading independent charity in the UK helping musicians throughout their careers and their lives. HMUK offers practical, positive support to emerging, professional and retired musicians – whatever the genre. The charity’s Health and Welfare Team help existing professionals who, due to an unforeseen circumstance, need support. HMUK also help with long-term or terminal illness, musicians in retirement and those needing special help as they grow older.

In an ever-changing music industry, the Creative Team is determined to help musicians succeed without facing impossible financial barriers. The Creative Programme’s support is delivered in two main ways: tailored schemes offering funding directly to individuals and groups, and development opportunities offered by partner organisations, funded or part-funded by Help Musicians UK. 

For further information

Other sources of funding

In addition to the above funds, RNIB has a page containing details of grants from other organisations which can help with financial assistance.