Postgraduate Funding for University Students through Grants from Charity | GradFunding


Shannon-Latoyah Simon, Trinity Laban
Funding for MMus, Music


On completing my undergraduate degree in Classical Guitar performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of Music I knew I wanted to do a two-year master’s degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. I auditioned for a place on the MMus - Classical Guitar Performance course - and was thrilled when I received an unconditional offer! Despite being extremely happy, I was instantly confronted with the reality of having to pay £5,000 (even after receiving a postgraduate loan) per year for the course, as well as additional costs for maintenance, deposits, and bills.

Trinity Laban had a full online subscription to the Alternative Guide of Postgraduate Funding and they urged me to start looking at funding possibilities. After reading some success stories I quickly completed a letter with a personal statement, a budget prediction, and two references to send to fifty trusts and charities. As I received fifteen rejections instantly, I was delighted when I received a £1,500 cheque from the Ruby & Will George Trust. They award grants to applicants that have a link to commerce – my grandfather was a carpenter so I was eligible for the award and they agreed to repeat the award each year until my degree had finished.  Shortly after, I contacted the Denne Gilkes Memorial Fund and they sent me an application form. The same day I returned it, I received an email stating that I had been awarded a further £300.

I narrowed my search down, and also found that there were many charities in my hometown of Northampton. So I applied and received awards from the Sir Thomas White Charity Grant Fund (£1000) and the Dorothy Johnson Memorial Trust (£500 per year).  I then went on to receive £3,000 (per year) from the Hilda Martindale Trust, and £300 (per year) from the Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education and then £700 from the Clive and Sylvia Richards Trust. I had to write a statement for each explaining how I was a British woman going into an underrepresented field so I was extremely grateful to receive such a large award from them.

 A few of the charities I applied to solely funded undergraduate students but they were so impressed with my letter I ended up receiving a further sum of £1750 from other various organisations. My advice is to start applying as soon as you confirm your place on your course as some charities/trusts allocate awards for the next academic year. Also, don’t feel disheartened when you receive a rejection letter and be patient when waiting for trusts to get back to you. I received some awards up to 12 months after I sent the initial letter so patience can pay off.

I can’t thank the Alternative Guide for Postgraduate Funding enough.  Without them I wouldn’t have got the chance to go to London to complete my Master’s degree at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Classical Guitar Performance.