More funds available through AIM Sustainability Grants

AIM is pleased to announce the re-launch of the AIM Sustainability Grants, funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The new programme has revised grant criteria and a larger amount of funding to be distributed to small and medium sized museums. The key changes are detailed below.

The Sustainability Grants were first launched in 2006. Since then over 240 museums have benefited from grants of over £600,000 to help them improve their organisational sustainability. An independent evaluation of the programme earlier this year, found that in many areas there were no similar funding schemes available to museums and that there were over 300 eligible AIM members who had yet to benefit from a grant, indicating considerable, ongoing need for support. As a result the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation not only agreed to renew the scheme for a further three years, but also increased the amount available for grants from £60,000 p.a. to £75,000 p.a.

In order to ensure the Sustainability Grants continue to meet museums’ needs their have been some amendments to the eligibility criteria, guidance notes and assessment criteria, which will apply from the next round of grants, the closing date for which is 15th January 2015. If you intend to apply please make sure you use the new application form and refer to the new guidance, which are available on the AIM website.

The grants will continue to fund similar projects to those supported in previous rounds. However, we are keen to see more applications that focus on the long-term sustainability of a museum by looking at its organisational health (e.g. through governance reviews, business planning etc). Applications that will help generate more income for the museum will also continue to be eligible.

Applicants are asked to say whether their grant is for income generation or organisational health and ensure that their proposed project outcomes are relevant to the type of application they are making. The grant committee welcome innovative ideas for income generation and accept that they bring a degree of risk, but would still expect to see such projects being well planned.


  • The applicant must be an AIM member and can be based in any part of the UK.
  • The applicant must be an accredited museums, or have ‘working towards accreditation’ status.
  • It must have fewer than 50,000 visitors p.a. (previously 60,000 visitors) OR  a turnover of under £300,000.
  • The applicant must be a registered charity. It is possible for a registered charity such as a Friends organisation to apply on behalf of a local authority museum with which they are associated but in this case the registered charity and the museum must both be members of AIM.
  • A small museum that meets the eligibility criteria in its own right may apply, even if it is part of a larger organisation, but in this case both the museum applicant and the parent organisation must be members of AIM.

The new application form and guidance notes also provide information about amendments to the assessment criteria which the committee use to assess all applications.

As always, Justeen Stone is very happy to discuss your application with you before you apply. If you have any questions please feel free to contact her –




One thought on “More funds available through AIM Sustainability Grants

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s