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The Wild Escape

Grants of between £500 and £3,000 are available to individual organisations with a closing date of 7th November 2022. The Wild Escape (formerly known as The Great Escape) will feed into a UK-wide moment on Earth Day 2023 (Saturday 22nd April) in all participating organisations, demonstrating the sector’s response to urgent challenges facing our environment, and a positive call to action.

About the fund

Logos for Arts Council England and Art Fund

The Wild Escape Logo

This Fund Has Now Closed


The Wild Escape is a major, UK wide, participatory project from Art Fund supported by a major National Lottery Project Grant from Arts Council England, the largest grant it has ever awarded to a museum project.

It will engage children with the UK’s natural environment, drawing inspiration from the art and objects in museums and the creative and learning opportunities they can offer. It will bring schools and families into museum spaces, inviting primary school children aged 7-11 to explore the animals in their collections and create stories and pictures that imagine a creature’s journey to a future habitat rich in biodiversity. The things they make in the classroom, online and in museums will be brought together in a collective work of art, unveiled during a weekend of activities for all ages on Earth Day 2023 (Saturday 22nd April).

The Great Escape has been officially re-named The Wild Escape. This evolution of the project's name from its earlier working title now directly captures our aim to encourage the next generation to picture the future of UK wildlife through museum collections. The name change has no impact on your application if you are in the process of applying or if you have already applied.

What type of projects are we looking to fund?

This fund will support projects which clearly demonstrate that the planned activities or workshop:

  • Will strengthen connections with nearby primary schools and families, connecting (or reconnecting) with the widest possible group of school children through creative activities or workshops designed for primary school children aged 7-11.
  • Will support children and young people to build their knowledge and understanding of the natural world and the effects of the climate crisis on the UK’s biodiversity.

The Great Escape will feed into a UK-wide moment on Earth Day in all participating organisations, demonstrating the sector’s response to urgent challenges facing our environment, and a positive call to action.

Projects can be standalone or link The Great Escape to existing programming by your organisation. We hope projects will encourage long term engagement with local schools and their families.

Our funding can support The Great Escape projects in one or more of the following ways:

  • Connecting with local primary schools: Build or expand one or more connections to a local primary school near to you and or offer The Great Escape workshops to primary age classes aged 7–11-years-old prior to Earth Day on 22 April 2023
  • Connect with families: Engage and widen participation from families with children under 11 years-old in your organisation’s activities online or in real life
  • Connect and work other local community groups or organisations: Build your relationships and or partnerships with local community groups to support your engagement with primary schools and families with children under 11 years-old
  • Earth day activity: Invite the schools/ families/ visitors, and community to join you on Earth Day 2023 for a participative event at your organisation or in your community that connects back to the workshops. There will be ways to submit artwork and stories to a UK wide digital artwork, details to follow.

Applicants should consider the following for their project:

  • Sustainability: programming events and activities to use less energy and create less waste, as well as harnessing inspirational and advocacy potential of artists
  • Digital capacity: using technology and online tools to increase efficiency, communication, and transparency
  • Accessibility: taking steps to be more inclusive and welcoming of a diverse range of visitors

Who can apply for this funding

We will consider applications from accredited museums in Scotland. Non-accredited museums which have previously been approved through eligibility checks for Museums Galleries Scotland funding may also apply. If you are unsure if this applies to your organisation please contact the Grants Team via

Partnership applications are encouraged and welcome to this fund where a minimum of five separate organisations wish to collaborate in the delivery of their project.

National Museums Scotland and National Galleries Scotland may apply as members of a partnership application but cannot be the lead applicant or apply as an individual applicant.

What we can fund

You can apply for costs which:

  • Support the delivery of your project as part of The Great Escape
  • Mitigate the carbon impact of your project
  • Reasonable additional staff costs required to deliver the project (maximum 50% of total project cost)
  • VAT, if your organisation is not VAT registered or if you cannot recover VAT on project activity

What we can’t fund

You cannot include costs for the following either as part of the grant or as cash-match project funding:

  • School transportation costs e.g., coaches
  • Building work
  • Capital costs (e.g., boilers or ongoing costs relating to capital equipment)
  • Attendance at training events or conferences or membership subscriptions
  • Recharges of venue hire or overheads or other ongoing costs relating to the applicant museum(s)
  • Recharges for volunteers of the applicant museum(s) including travel and subsistence
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Any expenditure for which the museum(s) cannot provide evidence (e.g., receipts)
  • Costs incurred prior to the project start date.
  • VAT if your museum is VAT registered or if you are able recover VAT on project activity 

Charging schools

We are supportive of organisations charging schools for workshops where this is appropriate and realistic. The Great Escape resources have been created with several curriculum links and template letters to outline the reasons for teachers to engage in support of the project, including links to science and geography as well as literacy and creativity. Applicants intending to charge are required to outline this income in your application budget. 

Posts and Contracts

We are committed to supporting freelancers/ consultants working in the museum, heritage, and gallery sector. Applicants seeking to include work with freelancers/ consultants as part of their application are expected to uphold Principles for Working with Freelancers as part of the terms and conditions of their grant. Please also see guidelines on how to commission freelancers.


Grant funding for individual organisations is available from £500 up to £3,000 and for partnerships up to £15,000. 

Partnership applicants can apply for up to a maximum of £15,000 and require a minimum of five separate organisations to participate.

Applicants can apply for 100% of project costs.  Cash match or in-kind support is not a requirement, but applicants will be asked to include this information in their application if applicable, to enable us to measure the overall cost of the project. Successful applicants will be asked to report actuals for cash-match or in-kind support in their grant reporting, if applicable.

90% of the grant value awarded will be paid on receipt of grant acceptance.  The 10% balance will be paid on receipt of grant reporting and evidence of expenditure. All grant monies are paid by BACS. For partnership applications the lead applicant will be paid all monies awarded.

Successful applicants must agree to Museums Galleries Scotland terms and conditions for project grants. For partnerships, the lead applicant is accountable for confirming all partnership applicants are eligible for funding and must be able to agree to the terms and conditions of grant on behalf of the partnership. Please see ‘Who can apply for funding?’ for full eligibility details.

All claims for monies will be paid following submission of the grant paperwork as set out in the timetable below.

When to apply

  • Application deadline: 5pm Monday 7 November 2022
  • Decisions announced: Friday 2 December 2022
  • Grant acceptance deadline by: Friday 16 December 2022 – initial grant payment will be made following satisfactory completion of award acceptance
  • Projects can start as soon as the grant acceptance is completed
  • Projects complete by: Monday 1 May 2023
  • Submission of grant claim paperwork and end of project report: no later than Wednesday 31 May 2023

Assessment criteria

We will assess your application against the following criteria and applicants should focus on articulating how their project meets these:

  • How well the project aligns with the fund’s purpose and priorities.
  • How well you have ensured that your activity is inclusive and removes barriers to participation
  • The deliverability of your project taking into account the accuracy and completeness of your budget and planning and your engagement of delivery partners
  • The extent to which your proposal has the potential to create reusable resources and sustainable relationships with partners in schools and the community.

How to apply

Applications are made online using the following online form.

MGS Online

Applications submitted after the specified deadline will not be accepted.  Please contact us if you have access requirements and require an alternative format for applying.

Any projects which are to be delivered in partnership with a primary school must attach a letter of support from a named professional within the school confirming their understanding of the project and their intention to take part in the proposed activity within the timescales set out.

Please see the Supporting Documents area for a template email/letter to begin a conversation with your local primary school(s) should you wish. This should be tailored to suit your own project.

Your application will be assessed by a team within Museums Galleries Scotland. Following assessment, you (or the lead applicant) will be notified no later than Friday 2 December 2022 via MGS Online of the outcome of your application.

If your application is successful

If your application is successful, you will receive:  

  • An offer letter including agreement to terms and conditions
  • Details of an evaluation framework you will be expected to participate in

You will also have access to a wide range of programme resources and assets developed by The Art Fund including:

  • Support for contacting schools, e.g., template letters, risk assessments, activity sheets, teacher packs, template letters for children to take home
  • Marketing and advocacy assets
  • Support to find local partners
  • Support to do ideas mapping for your Great Escape activity
  • Professional development resources, particularly in the areas of sustainability, evaluation and working with artists

Please visit the Wild Escape website to access a wide range of resources and activities to use and adapt in your project.


Our Grants Team are available at:

Please note, for technical support with using MGS Online, you should email