If you are new to John Lyon’s Charity, please use this section of the FAQs to assist with questions relating to funding opportunities and the application process. If you cannot find the answers you are looking for, please contact us on 02072591700 or email us at [email protected] to discuss the matter further.
Click to navigate to the relevant FAQ section:
- About John Lyon’s Charity
- What we fund
- New Applications & Bank Statements
- School Applications
- Living Wage Funder
About John Lyon’s Charity
- What do we do?
John Lyon’s Charity gives grants to benefit children and young people up to the age of 25 (or 30 for those with SEND) who live in nine boroughs in North and West London: Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster. The Charity distributes around £10-12 million in grants each year.
- What is our mission?
The Charity’s mission is to promote the life-chances of children and young people through education, which is consistent with the interests of our founder, John Lyon, when he established Harrow School.
- Who was John Lyon?
John Lyon was a yeoman farmer from the village of Preston in Harrow. In 1572 he was granted a Royal Charter by Elizabeth I to establish a free grammar school for boys: Harrow School. The Charter anticipated that John Lyon would endow a trust for the purpose of maintaining the two roads between London and Harrow, now the Edgware and Harrow roads. In 1578, John Lyon provided an endowment in the form of a farm of some 48 acres in the area now known as Maida Vale for that purpose.
- Why does John Lyon’s Charity only operate in nine boroughs of North West London?
For over 400 years the income from the estate in Maida Vale went to the various authorities that were responsible for the upkeep of the two roads. In 1991, the Charity Commission scheme came into effect giving the Governors discretion to apply the income for charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of the boroughs of Harrow, Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster – the boroughs served by the two roads.
- Am I eligible for a grant?
In order to apply to John Lyon’s Charity for a grant, there are five minimum requirements that you should consider before submitting your application:
- You must work to benefit children and young people in one of the Charity’s nine boroughs. These are Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, City of London.
- You must seek to work with children and young people up to the age of 25. This is extended to 30 for young people with special needs or disabilities.
- You must be a state school based within the Charity’s nine boroughs, a registered charity or have automatic charitable status. For more information, please see the Charity Commission website. Please note, CIC’s are not eligible.
- You must have a bank account in the name of your organisation.
- You must be able to produce your Annual Report, signed and audited accounts (or equivalent financial information) and an organisation budget when requested.
- Where do you fund?
The Charity operates in nine local authority areas, known as the Beneficial Area. The beneficiaries of John Lyon’s Charity are the inhabitants of the following London boroughs: Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster.
- My project covers boroughs that are outside your Beneficial Area as well as those within it. Can I still apply?
The Charity is only able to fund projects that are for the benefit of the inhabitants of the nine London boroughs in our Beneficial Area. If your project straddles the boundary of our Beneficial Area we are happy to assess your proposal but funding will be proportional to the numbers of users that come from within our area. For example, if 50% of users are from Camden and 50% from Islington, any funding proposal must be targeted to those users from Camden and show other sources of income for those users who are from Islington. Applications will always be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Priority is given to charities who are based in the Beneficial Area.
- My organisation is a company limited by guarantee. Am I eligible for a grant?
The Charity can only award grants to organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission or state schools.
- Can I apply as an individual?
The Charity can only award grants to organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission or state schools.
- Do you accept proposals from national organisations?
We will consider proposals from national organisations that are delivering a service in the Charity’s Beneficial Area that is not currently being provided by a local organisation. Proposals are considered on a case-by-case basis and your organisation must demonstrate its track record and impact within the borough or boroughs the Charity operates in. We will not fund national organisations with no track record or connections to the Charity’s Beneficial Area.
- Do you support research?
In line with the Charity’s growing commitment to evaluation, research and learning, it will consider contributions (either in full or a significant portion) towards research and learning initiatives. These should seek to deepen the Charity’s understanding of its Beneficial Area, issues affecting children and young people directly or issues affecting the CYP sector.
Typically, the Charity does not accept unsolicited applications relating to research, these are primarily developed in discussion and in partnership with the Charity and relate to its own identified priorities. The Charity will not support organisation’s individual research or monitoring and evaluation projects.
What we fund
- What type of grants do you give?
We offer a variety of funding opportunties that support core revenue costs, salary costs, project costs, capacity building, refurbishment costs and many more.
- Will the Charity fund core costs?
Yes, the Charity will fund core costs if you are based within the Beneficial Area and have a focus on children and young people. Please be aware that the amount requested must be reasonable and if you have no other core funding it is unlikely that the Charity will be able to help.
- Can I apply for more than one grant at the same time?
If you are a charity:
You can only hold one Open Access grant at a time. However, you can apply to our School Holiday Activity Fund, Capacity Building Micro Grant, Refurbishment Fund or Cultural Capital Fund: Arts Organisations in addition to your Open Access grant.
If you are a school:
You can only hold one Schools in Partnership grant at any one time.However, you can apply to our School Holiday Activity Fund or Cultural Capital Fund: Schools in addition to your Schools in Partnership grant.
- Does the Charity require match funding?
No, this is not a requirement. However, we may not release funds until the majority of the funding is in place, particularly for refurbishment projects. Requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- How long do you give grants for?
See details below of the different grants available:
Duration of grant
Open Access Programme Up to five years
School Holiday Activity Fund One per financial year (April-March)
Cultural Capital Fund (Arts Organisations) Up to two years
Refurbishment Fund One year
Schools in Partnership Up to five years
Cultural Capital Fund (Schools) One per financial year (April-March)
Capacity Building Micro Grant - One per financial year (April-March)
New Applications & Bank Statements
- What is the maximum amount I can apply for?
All our grant amounts vary depending on the request. We recommend visiting Our Grant Fund pages to find out how much you can apply for.
- Can I download a copy of your application form?
- What should I put in an initial proposal letter?
You can download our guidelines for writing a good proposal letter. Proposals should be submitted online using our Grants Portal.
- Do you have deadlines for application forms?
You can apply for a grant from the Charity at any time. However, if you are applying for our Open Access Programme, please be aware that due to demand, it can take at least six months for us to consider your proposal and your project cannot start until you have a positive outcome from the Trustee. If you would like to be considered for funding, we strongly recommend submitting a proposal as early as possible. We do not fund retrospectively.
Open Access Programme - Grants are considered by the Trustee three times per year in November, March and June.
School Holiday Activity
- October half-term – 21 September
- Christmas holiday – 16 November
- February half-term – 18 January
- Easter holiday – 1 March
- May half-term – 25 April
- Summer holiday – 1 June
Refurbishment Fund: Small Grants - This is a rolling application process with no deadlines. Small Grant applications are considered six times per year.
Refurbishment Fund: Main Grants - Grants are considered by the Trustee three times per year in November, March and June.
Cultural Capital Fund: Arts Organisations - Grants will be considered in June and November.
Cultural Capital Fund: Schools - This is a rolling application process with no deadlines. You should apply to us at least ten weeks before your planned activity to give us time to process your application.
Schools in Partnership - Grants are considered by the Trustee three times per year in November, March and June. Typically, for projects to start in line with the new Academic Year, they will be considered at the March meeting. Therefore proposals should be submitted by November of the previous year at the very latest.
Visit our Apply for funding page for further information on the application process for each of the Grant Funds.
- Can I email my application?
No. Applications to the Charity should be made online through our Grants Portal. If you are unable to apply online, please contact the Grants Team for support on 0207 259 1700 or at [email protected].
- I have been asked to submit a bank statement. What should I do?
If you are applying to the Charity for the first time or you have not received a payment from the Charity in the last three years, the Charity requires you to submit a *PDF version of your Bank Statement. It must clearly show your organisation’s name and bank account details. Please note that we will only accept bank statements that are dated within the last 3 months. The Bank Statement must be sent via email to [email protected] at the same time or shortly after, submitting your online application.
If you have received a payment from the Charity within the last three years and your bank details have not changed, you do not need to provide a new statement; we will use the bank statement we already hold on file.
* The PDF must be the version you download if you have Online Banking OR a saved PDF version of the hard copy of your Bank Statement.
- I have an online system and don’t have a bank statement? What should I do?
If you have Online Banking you must provide a PDF of the version you download.
- Guidelines for using the Grants Portal
- Do you visit projects?
Yes, we commit to meeting every applicant prior to a Stage 2 application. Sometimes a visit may be carried out by one of the Charity's specialist advisors, but you will be informed if this is the case. For multi-year grants we also carry out monitoring visits.
- What happens if my application is successful?
If your application is approved by the Trustee, we will write to you informing you of their decision and send you a Contract outlining the Terms and Conditions of your grant. This will set out our grant requirements and any specific conditions that may need to be completed. You will also receive Branding Guidelines to confirm that you understand and agree to the Charity’s policy on branding and acknowledgement. We will only release funding once the Contract has been signed and returned to us and we are happy that all conditions have been met.
- How long does it take for a decision to be reached?
The Trustee meet two months after the deadline date for applications in November, March and June. When applying for funding through our Open Access Programme and the Schools in Partnership Fund the application process from proposal letter to decision takes at least six months. Applications outside of the Open Access Programme and Schools in Partnership Fund are assessed and processed more quickly.
- How long does it take to receive money after the Trustee has met?
If you have returned your Contract and completed all the conditions, we will release the grant payment. The Contract needs to be signed by a Trustee and have all bank details correctly completed. These bank details need to match the bank statement you have previously provided to the Charity. You will be contacted via email to inform you of the exact date of payment. In some cases, particularly with larger refurbishment grants we will not release funds until we are sure that building works are due to commence or that funding is required immediately.
- My application to you was unsuccessful. When can I re-apply?
It is advisable that you do not approach the Charity again for at least two years.
- My application was unsuccessful. Do you provide feedback?
Should your proposal be unsuccessful, you will receive a formal letter with the decision. It is the policy of the Trustee not to provide feedback in addition to this letter.
If you are applying on behalf of a school, you may have some questions about how to apply for a grant. Use this section to find out more information. If you have any other questions, please contact the Charity on 020 7259 1700 or [email protected]
- Types of Grants
What kinds of grants are schools eligible to apply for?
There are two specific Funds open to Schools: Schools in Partnership Fund and Cultural Capital Fund: Schools. Schools are also eligible to apply for our School Holiday Activity Fund.
Are schools able to apply for funding towards a project delivered by an external charity or specialist institution?
Yes, please see our hints & tips for working with Arts organisations here.
Our school needs a new sports hall, can you fund this?
Unfortunately, we cannot consider requests for capital projects in schools.
Our school has not had an OFSTED inspection, are we still able to apply?
Unfortunately, we can only accept applications from schools that have been inspected by OFSTED. If your school has recently been inspected but has not received an outcome or report yet, please indicate this on your proposal.
We are a faith-based school, are we eligible to apply for a grant?
If your school is faith-based, you can still apply for funding as long as you have an open admissions policy. The Charity cannot fund faith schools with a closed admissions policy. You should provide details on the admissions policy with your proposal letter.
Who needs to submit the initial proposal on behalf of the school?
Ideally the initial proposal will be submitted by the headteacher or project lead. It is important that you provide the name, phone number and email for a contact person at the school who can help us if we need to ask further questions on your application.
How long does it take to receive money after the Trustee has met?
If you have returned your Contract and completed all the conditions we will release the grant payment. The Contract needs to be signed by both the Headteacher and Chair of Governors and have all bank details correctly completed. These bank details need to match the bank statement you have previously provided to the charity. You will be contacted via email of the exact date of payment.
Will someone from the Charity visit the school to assess the project?
Yes, we aim to visit all projects before sending out an Application Form. Sometimes a visit may be carried out by one of the charity's specialist advisors, but you will be informed if this is the case. For long term grants of up to three years we also carry out monitoring visits. If you have a project that runs on specific dates, please provide your Grants Manager with a range of dates so that they can ensure they are able to attend a session. All the Charity’s Grants Managers and specialist advisors are DBS checked.
If we receive a grant will we need to complete lots of paperwork for monitoring?
Because we need to learn from the experience of those who received grants we expect reports on the progress of each project. Without this feedback, examples of good practice and valuable initiatives can be lost. The information we get back from supported projects will also help shape future policy.
For one off grants, you will need to provide a report after one year. This does not have to be long but should give us some indication of how the Charity's money was spent. For ongoing grants of up to three years, you will need to submit a report after each year of funding. The report should act as your formal request for your next tranche of grant.
London Living Wage Funder
- What is the London Living Wage?
The London Living Wage is a is an hourly pay rate based on the cost of living. It is independently calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, every November. Further information can be found on the Living Wage Foundation’s website.
- What is the difference between the Minimum Wage and the London Living Wage?
The Minimum Wage is calculated by the Government based on median income figures. Currently it is £9.50 per hour for over 23s. The Real Living Wage is higher, as it is calculated based on the cost of living and currently stands at £10.90 per hour across the UK and £11.95 per hour in Greater London. Further information can be found on the Living Wage Foundation’s website.
- How much is the London Living Wage?
As of September 2022, the new Living Wage is:
Across the UK: £10.90
Greater London: £11.95
This is the minimum wage that we expect to be paid for all salaries funded by the Charity.
- Which salaries does the London Living Wage apply to?
Everyone above the age of 16 on a salary funded by John Lyon’s Charity (working with children and young people). This includes apprenticeships, internships, sessional and freelance staff.
- If we cannot pay the London Living Wage, will my application be considered?
John Lyon’s Charity will continue to consider all applications received. As a Living Wage Friendly Funder, we strongly recommend you consider paying all staff the Real Living Wage. However, we acknowledge some applicants may be unable to do so. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us on 02072591700 or at [email protected] to discuss the matter further.
- What happens if John Lyon’s Charity is only part-funding a post?
Any post funded by John Lyon’s Charity either full or part should be paid the Real Living Wage.
- Where can I find out more about the Living Wage?