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About the Trust

The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust provides small scale grants to British artists, designers, writers and performers over the age of 30 who are experiencing financial difficulties in the pursuit of their careers.

The Trust was established under the will of Mrs Geraldine Elsie Downes on her death in December 1969. Mrs Downes named the Trust in memory of her father, the author E Phillips Oppenheim, and her son, John Downes.


Awards are made in December each year, and typically range from £250 - £1,000. Applications may be submitted at any time but must be received by 7 October in order to be considered for an award within the same calendar year.

The Trust welcomes applications from professional or aspiring artists, designers, writers and performers working in any of the following disciplines:

  • Visual arts (including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and work in other media)
  • Crafts (including ceramics, glass, metalwork, woodcarving, textiles and work in other media)
  • Music (musicians, composers and conductors)
  • Design (including fashion, product design/innovation and work in digital media)
  • Performing arts (actors, dancers and individual performance artists of any other kind)
  • Creative writing (poets, novelists, librettists and creative writers of any other kind)
  • Film & digital media

The Trustees are also happy to consider applications from arts and crafts specialists involved in the restoration and preservation of architectural and cultural artefacts, such as gilders, stone carvers and conservators.

What can be funded?

Applicants must set out clearly in their application form the purpose for which funding is required, and include evidence of financial need. Awards may be granted for a wide range of purposes. For example,

  • Materials and/or equipment
  • Course fees
  • Research
  • Travel
  • Production costs

The Trust will not support applications for general living expenses.

Eligibility criteria

You must be over 30 years old on 1 December in the year that you apply in order to be eligible for an award, and also be a British Subject born within Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. See terms and conditions for further details.

If you would like to apply, please use the links to the left to download an application form or contact us to request a form through the post. Your application form will contain instructions on where to send it.

The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales under number 278844.

Download application form: