Financial Support

NMPAT is keen to enable all children and young people reach their full potential, and support those who need additional financial assistance.

Remission of Fees

To support those in financial need, NMPAT is able to offer remission of fees .

NMPAT is able to offer assistance with the cost of membership subscriptions for those who are in financial need.

A reduction to £20 per term is available for children and young people:

  • entitled to receive free school meals (not including universal provision for KS1 students)
  • where families are on Income Support
  • where families receive Income Based Job Seeker’s allowance

NB This support does not extend to those who receive “Family Tax Credit” alone.

Please complete and return the Assistance with Membership Subscriptions (AMS) application form to the Trust Office: AMS application form 22-23 (if you wish to apply for assistance for the remaining term of 2021-2022 please email

For those who do not qualify for the full remission, but are experiencing financial difficulty, an application may be submitted and a discretionary reduction to £40 may be applied.

NMPAT makes available a number of bursaries and subsidies to assist with the costs of lessons in schools to support students in financial need, where Pupil Premium funding is not available. These subsidies may be granted to children and young people of all ages, including those new to instrumental tuition. This support can cover up to 50% of the cost of lessons.

This subsidy support is intended for children and young people:

  • entitled to receive free school meals (not including universal provision for KS1 students)
  • where families are on Income Support
  • where families receive Income Based Job Seeker’s allowance

Please complete and return this application form to the Trust Office: Application for support with school lessons 2022-23 (if you wish to apply for assistance for the remaining term of 2021-2022 please email

Financial support for individual lessons received out of school time is administered in the form of Bursaries granted by the Gordon Robinson Trust. Please see the Bursaries tab below for guidelines and an application form.

The Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust

The Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust is proud to support young people and their musical education, by providing Fellowships, Awards and Bursaries to individuals participating in the activities of Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, as well as providing grant support enabling NMPAT project delivery.

The Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust administers bursaries for talented young musicians to support their advanced music making.

These are awarded by audition each summer and run for a year, extendable to a maximum of three years. They are intended to part-fund individual tuition on a student’s principal instrument or voice.

Bursaries have been endowed by, or in the name of:

  • Annie Holt
  • Vera Ashton
  • Neil Tobin
  • Julie Record
  • Peter Moreton (specifically for a Jazz Musician)
  • Northampton Masonic Province
  • Northampton Rotary Club
  • Northampton (West) Rotary Club
  • Wellingborough Rotary Club
  • Individual Donations

Auditions are usually held in July, but applications are welcome at any time. Please check the guidelines and complete and return your application form to the NMPAT office.

Causebrook Organ Fund

The Gordon Robinson Trust administers a small grant from the Sudborough Foundation in the name of the Causebrook Organ Fund to support young organists with the costs of lessons. The grant could typically fund up to 50% of the cost of lesson fees, depending on demand.

Applications for support, detailing current experience and costs associated with lessons are invited to

Financial support for former NMPAT members, in Higher Education, suffering financial hardship

The Gordon Robinson Trust holds money to provide financial support for former members of Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, now studying music in Higher Education and suffering financial hardship. 

Applications will usually be received through the online application form linked below by 31st October, and will receive a written response following the November meeting of the Gordon Robinson Trustees.  The Trustees also meet in February and June.  However, requests for support, from individuals suffering financial hardship, may be considered and responded to throughout the year. 

Applicants are invited to clearly state what they need by way of financial support, indicating the costs that a grant would support and the impact this will have on their studies, and to describe their current financial situation. 

Applicants will normally have been long-standing members of NMPAT County Groups, prior to entering Higher Education. Monies are available for distribution to students following the commencement of their course. Students may apply for support in subsequent years, but priority will be given to those making their first application.

Grants awarded are generally up to a maximum of £1,000 and are supported by funds from the Edna Newill Charitable Trust and the Woodward Pyke Trust, administered by the Gordon Robinson Trust.

Awards for Regional Centre members

The Gordon Robinson Awards are given annually to members of each of the Regional Music and Arts Centres for outstanding commitment to their musical studies. The awards are made in the autumn and acknowledged at Youth in Concert in the Derngate, nominated by the Centre Heads in consultation with their staff.

Awards for County Group members

There are a number of awards given to players of specific instruments. These are awarded by nomination from the staff of the various instrumental departments and presented at Youth in Concert:

Malcolm Tyler Brass Award

Two awards for Brass Players who made an outstanding contribution during their time in County Groups. Given in the name of former County Music Advisor Malcolm Tyler.

Margaret Lloyd Brass Awards

An award, usually, for low brass players who have made an outstanding contribution during their time in County Groups. Given in memory of former NMPAT Office Manager, Margaret Lloyd.

Peter Davies Memorial Prize

Three awards for Woodwind Players who made an outstanding contribution during their time in County Groups. Given in the name of former woodwind teacher Peter Davies.

NMPAT Strings Award

For outstanding contribution to the string department.

Lula Taylor Memorial Prize

For a promising younger string player.

Shirley Grant Choral Awards

Two awards for singers who have made an outstanding contribution during their time in County Groups. Given in memory of Shirley Grant.

Richard Coles Award

For outstanding contribution to the Percussion Department. Given by former chairman of the Governors, Dr Richard Coles.

The Chairman’s Award

For outstanding contribution, presented by the Chairman of the Trust.

Xing and Alice Ding Chamber Music Award

For outstanding contribution to Chamber Music. Created from public donation to remember Xing and Alice Ding.

Douglas Austin Award

For outstanding dedication and commitment to the Trust.


Each year two instrumental and two vocal fellowships are awarded to students in their final year with us. The Instrumental Fellowship Awards are directly funded by former governor Nigel Cobb and the Vocal Awards in memory of Shirley Grant.

These are awarded annually as a result of nomination by NMPAT staff, audition and a final public recital.

The Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust was founded as a tribute to the late Gordon Robinson, himself a founder member of the Northampton Schools Orchestra’s Association. Founder Trustees were all key players in establishing Northamptonshire’s now highly regarded music education provision and ensemble opportunities. Richard Coles and David Walmsley, as Governors, and Malcolm Tyler as director of Northamptonshire Music School, joined with County Education Officer Michael Henley, and three members of the Northamptonshire Music Schools Orchestras Association – Maureen Robinson, John Shaw and Cyril Steward. Together they created the Trust, empowering and ongoing legacy of support for music education.

Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust Fellowships and Awards are presented annually at NMPAT’s Youth in Concert at Derngate, Northampton in November.

Donations can be made to the Trust at any time, with a cheque made payable to the Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust. 

Donations to the Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust can support specific Bursaries and Awards, or can contribute more generally towards the Trusts’ ongoing commitment to supporting young people participating in the activities of NMPAT.

We hope that perhaps if you have experienced an association with NMPAT, formerly “Northampton Music School”, or simply share a passion for music making, you might be inspired to consider supporting the Trust in the future, gaining the satisfaction of knowing that your donation or legacy gift can make a unique and personal memorial to your enjoyment of music.

There is an ever increasing need to support the county’s children and young people in their music and performing arts education. At a time of increased financial pressure on the education system, it is ever more important to ensure that there is a mechanism to support those with limited financial means to continue to develop as musicians and reach their full potential.

If you are a UK tax payer then, as a registered charity, the Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust can claim 25p Gift Aid on every £1 you donate. We invite you to complete and return a Gift Aid declaration form with any donation you may make.

Download Gift Aid declaration form: Gift Aid Declaration

The Gordon Robinson Trust is a Registered Charity (Charity No. 283551). The Trustees are:

  • David Atkinson
  • Peter Dunkley
  • Virginia Henley
  • Michael Naylor (Treasurer)
  • Peter Smalley
  • Susan Wagg
  • David Watson (Chair)

External financial support​

We are often asked if we know of anywhere people can apply for help with support for the cost of music lessons and instruments. This is a non-exhaustive list of charities, trusts and foundations that we invite you to consider when looking for support.

Support from Local Trusts and Foundations

Promoting the education of persons under the age of 25 years who are in need of financial assistance and who are resident in the Borough of Northampton and are attending schools or full time course of education, to include Northampton University, within the Borough of Northampton.


This charity makes grants to young people, under the age of 25, who are residents in the village of Ecton, in Northamptonshire. Contact

You can find out more on the charity from their GOV.UK registered charity listing.

Aim is to promote the education and development of young people living in Finedon. Visit the Finedon Education Charity website.

The Trustees provide educational grants to young people, resident in the Borough of Northampton or the Parish of Great Doddington. There are separate application forms for those who are “under the age of 18” and for those “over the age of 18 and under the age of 25 (and in special circumstances those under 30)”.

The person must have been resident in the area for not less than three years of have attended a publically funded school in, or serving the area, for not less than one year. Preference is given to those living in the parishes of Weston Favell, Abington and Emmanuel, Northampton. There is a requirement to demonstrate a need for financial assistance and to provide a church or chapel reference.

Enquires should be made to Richard Pestell, Clerk to the Trustees, at You can find out more on the charity from their GOV.UK registered charity listing.

The ‘Talented Performers scheme’ provides funding for talented 11 to 18 year olds who have reached county standard or an equivalent level in the field of Sports or Arts and are looking to develop their skills further. The scheme is also open to other individuals in exceptional circumstances, at the council’s discretion, who are able to prove that the District would benefit from their skills.

A grant of 35% up to a maximum of £200 is available towards the cost of equipment, training or competition / examination / audition fees. You can download an application form from their website.

The Sir Thomas White Northampton Charity can provide grants of up to £1,000 to young people, living in Northampton and surrounds, aged over 16 and under the age of 25, who are in need of financial assistance to help them with their education or vocational training.

The Wilson Foundation is a UK registered charity established to ‘give a helping hand’ to young people in Northamptonshire – broadly aged between the ages of 10 and 21. You can apply for individual or group support on their website.

Support from National Trusts and Foundations

For instruments played with a bow the Charity provides funds for tuition; help towards the purchase of an instrument; some living expenses incurred whilst in full time or postgraduate education / studies at college / university – supporting students up to about 30 years of age. Find out how to apply on their website.

AYM helps exceptional young people who need financial and other forms of support to progress their musical talent and to develop their skills to their full potential. Find out more about their different awards.

The annual competition can be entered by those aged 18 or under and who have achieved Grade 8 standard. Full details can be found on the BBC website.

EMI Music Sound Foundation is an independent music education charity, established in 1997 to celebrate the centenary of EMI Records and to improve young peoples’ access to music education in the UK & Ireland. The Foundation provides two types of awards: Firstly, the Instrument and / or Equipment awards which allows schools, music teachers and individuals in full time education to apply directly to the foundation for assistance with the purchase of musical instruments and / or equipment. Secondly, the Bursary awards which allow students at the colleges or organisations as listed on their website to apply for assistance with fees and / or living expenses (these are handled directly by the college or organisation). Make an application on the Sound Foundation website.

Fidelio welcomes applications for grants in support of the Arts particularly for Music, including Opera, Lieder, Composition and Dance. Fidelio looks to provide support for individuals or groups of exceptional ability. Visit their website to make an application.

Offers financial bursaries to young musicians, instrumentalists and singers from any genre of music.

Future Talent supports gifted young musicians from low income backgrounds from anywhere in the UK. This is typically families who have a household income of around £30,000 per year, or less, before tax (including benefits). Any young musicians on free school dinners would be eligible for one of these bursaries. Bursaries of up to £2,000 per year can be used on anything that will help to nurture a young musicians’ talent. For example, funds can be used for lessons, a new instrument or case, courses or maintenance. There is no specific grade requirement or level that needs to be reached. Some examples, given by the trust include:

  • A 16/17 year old, grade 7/8 musician who is planning to study music in heighted education and needs their own instrument or extra lessons.
  • A 13 year old how has been learning for a few years and is progressing really quickly, who would really benefit from taking part in an ensemble / orchestral course, or who needs some more support with costs.
  • A year 5 or 6 continuer, who has gone through wider opportunities, and has managed to reach grade 2/3 by the end of primary school, but whose parents cannot afford to carry on with lessons.

The Mentoring, Advice and Bursary Programme also offers free orchestral days and performance classes, mentoring with a professional musician / conductor and development opportunities. Our aim is to give talented young musicians an equal chance to enter a musical career, who might otherwise not get the opportunity due to lack of funds or experience. Make an application on the Future Talent website.

The Hattori Foundation is a charitable trust offering awards to exceptionally talented young instrumental soloists or chamber ensembles whose talent and achievements give promise of an international career. Find out more on the Hattori website.

Provides grants to young people to assist them with vocational training and education. Helping young people 16 to 26, to learn new skills and make their way into employment. They cannot help if you are still in secondary education, studying GCSEs or A levels, nor undertaking a course at a private dance / drama college, nor an undergraduate or postgraduate degree – will only support you if studying on a course that is vocational and accredited. Parental income must be below £26,000 per annum. Find out more about the Atwell grants.

Music for all is the charity of the Musical Instrument Industry. They provide advice and grant funding support which is available to individuals to provide access to musical instruments and lessons. Apply for funding on their website.

Take it away is supported by Arts Council England, provides interest free loans for instrument purchases. Read more about the offer on their website.

The Wrightson Trust generally aims to benefit young people between 10 and 18. Includes support for lessons, choir / orchestra tour fees, music colleges etc. Assistance varies according to circumstances. Distributions have ranged between £100 and £800. Grants are either ‘one offs’ or reviewable annual payments for a specific period. Three grants per person is normally the maximum the trust gives. Two letters of support are required from the candidate’s tutors or teachers. Make an application to The Wrightson Trust.

Other useful sources of advice

Help Musicians UK is the leading UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement.

Help Musicians exists to help at times of crisis, but also at times of opportunity, giving people the extra support they need at a crucial stage that could make or break their career. They provide information and advice to musicians of any age, and have a specific page for under 18s.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians. The ISM was set up in 1882 to promote the importance of music and protect the rights of those working within music. It is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation which has 7,600 individual musicians in its membership. The ISM protects and supports its members by providing them with expert legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services as well as access to a community of like-minded musicians and the status that comes with being a member of a professional body.

Their website includes information on careers in music and you can request their (free of charge) digital guide for young musicians.

If you have any information, links or contacts to add, please email Anna Denny, Fundraising Manager:

"All children should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument"

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