Paul Hamlyn Foundation - Ideas and Pioneers Fund

Status:Open to applications
Application Deadline: Applications can be submitted at any time


Grants are available to individuals and teams, including those working within small organisations, to support early development of ideas with unusual promise to improve the life chances and opportunities of individuals and communities in the UK.


Maximum Value: £15,000

Value Notes

Grants of up to £10,000 are available.

Exceptional projects can receive up to £15,000.

Extended Description

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) is one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK.  Paul Hamlyn was an entrepreneurial publisher and philanthropist, committed to providing new opportunities and experiences for the less fortunate members of society.  The Foundation was established in 1987 with a personal gift of £50 million and bequest most of his estate to it when he died in 2001.

The PHF’s mission is to “help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives”. The Foundation places particular focus on supporting both young people and the arts. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation – Strategy 2015 identifies six strategic priorities relating to changes the PHF wishes to see in the UK. These are:

  • To support imaginative people to nurture exciting ideas.
  • To widen access and participation in the arts.
  • To improve people’s education and learning through the arts.
  • To show that the arts make a difference to people’s lives.
  • To support the development and growth of organisations investing in young people and positive change.
  • To improve support for young people who migrate, and strengthen integration so that communities can live well together.

The funding schemes offered by the PHF are designed to support innovation, give people a voice, work with others and make lasting commitments.



Key Criteria

Applications will be accepted from:

  • Individual pioneers working on their own.
  • Partnerships or small teams of pioneers working independently, ie not as part of an organisation or association.
  • People working in small constituted organisations that employ no more than five people (full time equivalent).
  • Applicants aged 18 and above.


Priority will be given to applicants who haven't applied to the PHF before.


Eligible Expenditure


The Ideas and Pioneers Fund provides seed funding for social change. Funding is available for:

  • Ideas that relate closely to the PHF's charitable mission, which is focussed around helping people to overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives.
  • Ideas that are in the early stages of development, although some initial work should have already been done.
  • Ideas that have not currently received funding from any other funding bodies, although applicants might have applied elsewhere.
  • Ideas that will not require follow on funding.
  • Ideas that may require a risk, as the PHF recognises that some ideas are not going to work out.


Funding is available for a wide range of things that might be needed to get the idea off the ground, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will consider funding work that will enable applicants to develop the idea from concept to set-up, including problem definition and analysis, scoping, exploratory work, and prototyping.


Funding is not available for:

  • Individuals.
  • Schools or other formal education settings.
  • Local authorities and other statutory authorities.
  • Proposals that are only for the benefit of one individual.
  • Websites, publications or seminars, unless part of a wider proposal.
  • Retrospective funding.
  • General appeals.
  • Property proposals for equipment or other capital items, including the restoration or conservation of buildings or habitats.
  • Overseas travel, expeditions, adventure and residential courses.
  • Promotion of religious beliefs.
  • Animal welfare.
  • Medical/health/residential or day care.
  • Proposals that benefit people living outside the UK.
  • Organisations that do not have a formal constitution.
  • Activity that is not legally charitable.
  • More than one proposal to us from an individual, team or organisation at any one time.
  • Academic research, scholarships, bursaries, or any kind of student fees.
  • Loan and/or debt repayments.

Application Procedure

Applications to the Ideas and Pioneers Fund are made online. Applicants will also need to submit:

  • A video lasting up to three minutes, explaining what the idea is and why it should be done.
  • A short written form.
  • An equalities monitoring form.

Contact the Paul Hamlyn Foundation here for further information.


Addresses and contacts

Contact details:
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
5-11 Leeke Street
Telephone:020 7812 3300