1. We want to support imaginative people to nurture exciting ideas

In all the areas where we want to achieve impact, change often comes about because of the application of good ideas by passionate people. Paul Hamlyn was an innovator and in his business life and philanthropy he backed people with good ideas. We want to do this too.

There are limited opportunities in the UK for individuals with bold ideas for achieving social impact, but operating outside of an established organisational context, to access financial support. It is particularly difficult for people with new ideas to secure funding to support the earliest stages of ideas development – to enable scoping and exploratory work, ideas generation and the necessary development work prior to launch and testing of a new approach or venture.

For over 20 years, we have supported individuals whose ideas and pioneering work have often been transformative. This has mainly been in the arts sector, but we have also supported the Clore Social Leadership programme since its inception. Under this strategic priority we will, through a new fund, open up opportunities to individuals, responding to our mission, to get help to progress ideas that they believe will lead to social change.

Our work under this strategic priority will include:

Ideas and Pioneers Fund

Paul Hamlyn’s mantra was to back the “person and their track record first, idea second and details third”. This new fund is designed to respond to that challenge. Its purpose is to support people to develop ideas that are of unusual promise in responding to our mission – ideas that could deliver social change and improve the life chances and opportunities of individuals and communities. We know that a small investment, early on, can have a huge impact, and that talent and the capacity to make a difference can often reside in people unused to applying for grants, or outside of major institutions. We are comfortable with a degree of risk here, recognising that it can result in unexpected and exciting outcomes.

Awards for Artists

We set up an Awards scheme in 1993 to support artists by providing them with financial assistance at critical points in their careers. The aim of the Awards is to give artists the freedom to develop their creative ideas and to contribute to their personal and professional growth. Since their inception over 100 artists have benefited with funding of almost £4m. Artists cannot apply directly for the PHF Awards for Artists, but are nominated. A panel of judges selects the recipients on the basis of talent, promise and need, as well as achievement.

Breakthrough Fund

The Breakthrough Fund was set up in 2008 to respond to the drive, talent, vision and determination of exceptional individuals in the role of ‘cultural entrepreneur’ – a role not previously the focus of a funding initiative of this kind – and to offer backing for what they are trying to do. Through committed, responsive and flexible support, we hope to enable significant developments that would not otherwise come about, and in doing so see transformational impacts for these individuals and the organisations they run. Cultural entrepreneurs cannot apply directly for the Breakthrough Fund, but are nominated by a group of peers.