Scotland's Youth Arts Open Fund Launched

A new Youth Arts Open Fund has been launched today. The fund worth almost half a million will support children and young people living in poverty and those who face significant barriers to opportunity.

The Youth Arts Open Fund

Using arts and creativity to engage children and young people has a huge impact on their learning, mental health and development, and builds their confidence and skills. Applications are being invited from projects and artists in your local area.

The Youth Arts Open Fund is administered by YouthLink Scotland (the national agency for youth work in Scotland) and is part of Creative Scotland’s wider support for children and young people, funded by the Scottish Government. The purpose of the Youth Arts Open Fund is to support freelance artists or organisations seeking funding so that they can deliver high quality and accessible arts activity for children and young people, prioritising those who have traditionally found it hardest to access such opportunities.

Freelance artists can apply for funding up to £8k and organisations can apply for funding of up to £15k, to deliver up to 12 months of arts activity, and there is a total of £460k available.

Young girls in a dance studio doing a dance routine.
Go Kids Scotland, Drama Workshop

Awards from the fund will be made to freelance artists or to creative, third sector or youth work organisations, who are based in Scotland, experienced in working with children and young people and supporting the delivery of FREE community-based arts activities for children and young people living in Scotland.

Young boy with glasses performs a dance routine in a dance studio.
Go Kids Scotland, Drama Workshop

Speaking at the launch, Culture Minister Christina McKelvie said:

“We know that participating in cultural activity from a young age boosts our wellbeing and helps us to develop valuable life skills. I am delighted to see the Youth Arts Open Fund launch this week and I am particularly pleased to see this fund target groups of children and young people who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities.

“This is a new strand of the Scottish Government’s longstanding support for Youth Arts, and addresses our commitment to expand the successful Youth Music Initiative to other art forms. I look forward to learning more about the successful projects in due course.”

Commenting, Jane Dailly, National Grants Manager for YouthLink Scotland said:

“The role of the Arts in broadening young people’s horizons should never be underestimated. It is often through the power of creative experiences that young people realise there is a positive path in life and they can achieve their ambitions despite difficult circumstances they may face. The Youth Arts Open Fund supported by Scottish Government is an investment in the next generation and a mark of a society that values all its young people and their role in our creative industries.”

Creative Scotland’s Head of Creative Learning, Colin Bradie said:

“This fund will ensure children and young people across Scotland are benefiting from high-quality and accessible arts experiences, targeting those who have traditionally found it hardest to access such opportunities. These experiences will enable children and young people to express themselves, building their skills and confidence and most importantly, have fun.  We welcome the Scottish Government’s support for the Youth Arts Open Fund and look forward to working with YouthLink Scotland to ensure the funding reaches children and young people in their communities.”

The deadline for applications is Monday 5th June.

Apply here.

A young person reads from a script in a drama class.
Go Kids Scotland, Drama Workshop


YouthLink Scotland

YouthLink Scotland is the national agency for youth work. It is a membership organisation and is in the unique position of representing the interests and aspirations of the whole of the sector both voluntary and statutory. We champion the role and value of the youth work sector, challenging government at national and local levels to invest in the development of the sector.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at


Need to know more?

For interview and media enquiries contact Sarah Paterson, Communications and Public Affairs Manager at YouthLink Scotland