funding for furniture courses
Tel: +44 (0) 1984 667555
funding for furniture courses
One of the questions we are frequently asked is: “Where can I get funding for my furniture and cabinetmaking career?"
Small Grants and Funding Foundations for Individuals
There are still small pots of funding - which will generally contribute anything from £100 to £2000 towards course fees, tools or support costs. However, they are well hidden, competition for funds is high and each fund differs in eligibility criteria. Some foundations will support young people between 16 and 25, and some have no age limit but support by gender, others support by geographical location, profession or religion.
Applying to these small foundations can be time consuming – and there is no guarantee of success. If you are driven, it is possible to access funds to contribute towards your course cost, but it won’t be a substantial amount of money. Kate, our Student Support Coordinator has done a bit of the leg work for you on small funders.
As such, Williams and Cleal hold a funding database, consolidating the main foundations that support individuals studying vocational courses such as furniture making. Drawing on Kate’s background in funding, we also have a short guide on how to make effective applications to funders, along with example letter formats.
Alternatively, we recommend visiting your local library and asking to borrow their reference copy of ‘The Guide to Educational Grants’. This book will save you hours of search time that you’d otherwise spend on the internet and it contains funders that are not even visible online.
Another good book is ‘The Directory of Grant Making Trusts’ also available at your library – but this book has more of a focus for charities over individuals.
Also, talk to your local council about funding sources, as different councils have different funding pots and priorities. They may be able to point you in the right direction.
An Accessible Alternative to Comparable Courses
One of the advantages that drives students to private providers like ourselves, is that comparable furniture courses at colleges and universities require 2-3 years minimum to cover the same range of subject matter that we condense into 40 weeks.
When taking account of the loss of earnings and associated living costs over a 2 to 3 year course, students see that our course offers excellent value for money by comparison. With the flexibility to attend 4 days a week instead of 5, and the freedom to structure your 200 day attendance over one calendar year, you can be back in employment, or starting your own business well in advance of students at other institutions.
Staggered Payment Structure
We know that fees can be a lot of money to find upfront, and therefore our course fees are split over the duration of the course. On our full time course, we ask for a non-refundable deposit of £2480. On the first day of your course, we will then require a further £8268. The balance of £5788 is due in the first day of the 21st week.
You may also wish to sell items that you make here on course to contribute towards your fees.
At the discretion of the office and in certain circumstances; we are willing to discuss alternative payment schedules to facilitate those who want to enrol, but find the initial payments hard to reach. Please speak directly to the office if you wish to find out more about this.
Funding for starting up your own furniture business
The reality is that most business funding (aside from Start Up Loans), are offered in the form of free business advice or training.
We have student handouts detailing how to access this free business support and advice, along with information of low priced business seminars and workshops run by the Crafts Council, The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, Arts Council and other providers.
We are aware of a couple of small funders that offer up to £500 grants for business start-ups, but rather than spending time trying to get funding – we would advocate that your time is better spent developing and promoting your business and acquiring clients.