ISM Members Fund


    Supporting our members through difficult times

    'Being a freelance musician is a rather precarious career - to know that there is support out there brings a degree of security that I didn’t know existed until this last year'.

    How the Fund helps musicians

    Ways the Fund helps ISM members (past and present) include:

    • financial support through illness and injury
    • grants towards disability aids/house adaptations
    • support through family problems
    • paying for essential medical treatments
    • help with the cost of re-training following misfortune
    • career coaching
    • respite breaks
    • financial help to retired members struggling to meet the cost of basic needs
    • 24/7 telephone counselling.

    Any musician could need help. It could be you or one of your friends or colleagues.

    Some musicians the Fund has helped

    Here are the stories of some of the people the Fund has supported and what they said.

    Suzi has a medical condition which means that for many years she has needed to use a wheelchair to move around the schools where she teaches. She came to the Fund when a further deterioration in her health left her without sufficient arm strength to propel her manual wheelchair and the NHS refused her funding for a power-assisted one. When the Fund gave Suzi a grant so that she could buy power-assisted wheels for her existing wheelchair, the improvement in her life was immediate.

    'From thinking I would have to stop teaching altogether to now being in a position where I am having to turn down work is something last year I didn’t think possible.'

    After the breakdown of her relationship with her partner, Susan was left homeless and caring on her own for her two young children. The Fund made a grant to cover the deposit and advance rental on a new home for her and her young children and is now supporting them with a regular grant towards their everyday expenses while Susan builds up her work portfolio.

    'Thank you all at ISM for your incredible support this year- I felt I was able to move forward from my situation and to turn a new leaf.'

    David is a concert pianist and piano teacher who has longstanding dystonia. This has prevented him from performing for a number of years and has limited his teaching work. The Fund made him a grant towards therapy to help his condition.

    'Thank you so much for responding so quickly and positively to my application and I'm absolutely delighted to have this support; it means a great deal to me.'

    When Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer, this meant she had to stop her work as a flautist for six months while undergoing intensive treatment. Her cellist husband Stephen had to curtail his workload to care for her. The Fund offered them a regular grant to help with their everyday expenses over the period of treatment.

    'We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of those at ISM and the financial aid has helped keep us steady during a very turbulent year…Having support such as we have had makes all the difference.'

    How to apply for help

    If you, or someone you know, needs the Fund’s help, please get in touch with us:

    Caroline Aldred, our Head of Members Fund Operations, would be pleased to discuss your circumstances informally with you before you make an application for a grant. You can email Caroline at caroline@ism.org or call her on 020 7313 9310.

    You can download an application form by clicking on the relevant link below. Please fill in the form and send it to ISM Members Fund, 4–5 Inverness Mews, London W2 3JQ or email it to caroline.aldred@ism.org. It will speed up the application process if you also send relevant supporting documents (eg bank statements, medical reports).

    You should expect to hear back from us within two weeks or less.

    Decisions on grant applications are taken by the Fund’s Grant-Making Committee (made up entirely of ISM members). The identity of applicants is not revealed to the Committee.

    All enquiries and applications are treated in strict confidence.

    Members Fund application forms

    How you can help

    The Fund is not financed in any way by members’ annual subscriptions. It has been able to support musicians and their families through hard times thanks to the generous donations and legacies of individuals wanting to help musicians in need.

    Find out more about how you can help the Fund.


    The ISM Members Fund is the working name of the Benevolent Fund of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, registered charity number 206801.