European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

Up Grants

Immagine 2024 03 29 171432
Our microfunding scheme that helps innovative, small-scale civil society initiatives through visibility and funding

Browse the projects submitted for Up Grants 2024 here

Our Up Grants microfunding scheme is open to all socio-cultural centres throughout Europe. The programme, that takes the form of a contest, aims to help innovative, small-scale civil society initiatives by offering them visibility and funding, all while inspiring others.

All eligible sbmitted projects will be showcased in a dedicated page on our website. This database will not only offer them visibility at national and international levels, but also serve as a valuable resource for sharing and learning from diverse experiences in the field.

Once all eligible initiatives have been submitted, the voting phase begins. The final winners (one for each strand) are then selected as a result of a mix of expert and public vote, and rewarded a grant. Winners will also be invited to our annual conference to showcase their practices.

The image is a courtesy of Slowfest, one of the winners of Up Grants 2022.

  • Who may submit their ideas?

    Our Up Grants is a microgrant scheme is open to all socio-cultural centres (and other cultural organisations with a strong community focus) based in a country joining the Creative Europe Programme (EU Member States + countries from this list). In order to be eligible to receive the funding, the organisation needs to be registered with a legal name and registration number in an eligible country.

  • I am a cultural centre, can I apply?

Yes, this microgrant scheme is aimed at socio-cultural centres (non-profit organisations or public bodies and cultural organisations with a strong community focus) primarily active in the field of socio-cultural and artistic activities.

  • What is a socio-cultural centre?

A broad definition of cultural centres:

We define a cultural centre as a non-profit organisation or a public body that facilitates citizens’ active participation in socio-cultural and artistic activities. Cultural centres promote culture and arts, working closely with and within its communities through a strong local network (with neighbourhood community art organisations, private facilities, government-sponsored, activist-run etc).

It can be for instance: a community centre, a socio-cultural centre, a cultural house, an art centre, an amateur group, a cultural association, a local artistic-cultural initiative, a folk art centre cultural organisations with a strong community focus… as long as it has a strong socio-cultural approach with a community outreach programme that empowers people and local community to have a voice in society through arts and culture. Key features of socio-cultural centres include:

  1. Community-based: Rooted in their communities, they cater to local residents' needs, often governed by community members and volunteers. 

  2. Open and inclusive: They welcome everyone, ensuring all individuals and groups feel valued and respected. 

  3. Promotion of diversity: They champion social and cultural diversity, offering programs reflecting all community members' interests. 

  4. Platform for innovation and engagement: Increasingly, they are hubs for social innovation and civic engagement, supporting community development and social justice.

  • I am a non-profit organisation that hosts some cultural activities, can I apply?

Applications should come specifically from socio-cultural organisations and cultural organisations with a strong community focus. This can include, for instance, community centres, cultural houses, art centres, cultural associations, folk art centres, etc., as long as they have a strong socio-cultural approach with a community outreach programme that empowers people and the local community to have a voice in society through arts and culture.

  • I represent an initiative working with a cultural centre, can I apply?

No, but the cultural centre can apply and submit your initiative. (However, if you are our member, or in the process of asking for membership, you may apply even if you are an initiative).

  • My organisation is a network, can I apply?

No, only cultural organisations that have a physical space which allows them to work closely with and within their communities can apply. (However, if you are a member of the ENCC, or in the process of asking for membership, this criteria does not apply).

  • My organisation is not an ENCC member, are the terms of participation the same as for ENCC members?

Yes, the microgrant scheme is open to both members and non-members. The winners will be selected through the combination of the results from the online voting and the evaluation of the jury of experts. Yet, the jury will take into account the membership as one of the multiple factors to be considered (i.e. if two applications have the same score of votes, the preference will be given to our member).

  • Can I submit several applications for the same organisation?

Yes, each participating organisation is allowed to submit several proposals, also on different strands. However, only one grant maximum per organisation will be awarded.

  • From which countries do you accept applications?

All nonprofit socio-cultural centres located in the European Union plus Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro, north Macedonia, Serbia, Turkiye, Ukraine, Armenia and Tunisia, can apply to the Up Grants, following the Creative Europe programme eligibility list.

  • What should my project's cover photo look like?

Your project cover photo, in order to be used to showcase your project on our website, should have a rectangular format. It will look best with a 13 : 8 ratio, for instance height: 240px and  width: 390px.  (The upload can have a higher pixel rate, as long as the ratio is the same.) 

Please choose your cover photo with care, it will represent your project in the voting process!

  • What’s in it for me?

Four (4) selected projects will receive a grant of 3500€. They will be showcased on the ENCC website and other ENCC communication channels, while a representative of the awarded organisation will be invited to join our conference in Riga next June, with costs covered. All eligible projects will be included in a database and get visibility at national and international levels.

  • Why do I need need to be registered with a legal name and registration number in an eligible country?

It is important to note that all applicants must have a 9-digit Participant Identification Code (PIC number) to be eligible for the grant. This code serves as a unique identifier of an organisation in the Commission's organisation register (Participant Register). All selected winners, will need to get a PIC number in order to receive the funds. If you do not have a PIC number do not worry! PIC is necessary only for winning organisation, and we can assist you in creating one.

  • How do I get a PIC number?

Organisations can register via the Funding & Tenders portal. Once registered, you will receive a 9-digit Participant Identification Code (PIC). This unique identifier will be used as a reference by the Executive Agency in any interactions.  To register an organisation, basic administrative and legal data are needed as well as some contact details:

  1. Legal Name: legal name of the organisation that must correspond to the official legal name in the statute of the organisation.

  2. Establishment/Registration Country: Select the ‘Establishment/Registration Country’ of the organisation from the drop-down list. Usually this is the location of the headquarters of the organisation.

  3. Registration Number: Enter your ‘Business registration number’ of the organisation (if available). This is a unique code identifying your organisation, ordinarily provided by the Chamber of Commerce.

As a general principle, an organisation should have legal personality in order to be registered. If the organisation does not have legal personality, its representatives must prove that they have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on its behalf and that the organisation has financial and operational capacity equivalent to that of legal persons.

  • What costs are eligible?

Costs related to the implementation of the project are generally all eligible, in case of doubt you can check with the ENCC office. Please note that the awarded money should be spent by 30 September 2024.

  • How are the awards provided?

The sum of 3500 euros will be transferred via Bank transfer in 2 tranches, one right after the announcements of the results and the other upon submission of the report (by November 2024 at latest).

  • Is the voting process open to everyone or only to ENCC members?

The selection of winners is the result of a combination of the evaluation of a jury of experts and a public online voting process. Online voting is open to everyone, so make sure to advertise your initiative and share the contest page with your network(s) and the people around you.

  • Can I apply to the Up Grants if I don’t have time to work on my initiative between now and September 2024?

No. Winning projects will be asked to implement their follow up plan and use the money provided from April to September 2024. A short report on actions implemented with the microgrant, including an invoice and pictures/other supportive materials is expected by the end of 30 September 2024.

More questions? Reach out to Cigdem Ozdemircelik, the programme's coordinator, at