Training and Professional Development Bursaries

Film Hub South East wants staff and volunteers in our region to benefit from the best skills and ideas. That's why we support members with training and professional development bursaries.

Organisations that are members of Film Hub South East can apply for a bursary to support the training and professional development needs of staff/volunteers if they are screening at least twelve films per year. Priority will be given to applications that best fit in with the priorities of the BFI’s 2022 strategy and the strategic aims of Film Hub South East.

You’ll find most of the information you need on this web page, but please download the full guidelines and read them through before you apply. If you aren’t a member yet, apply to join Film Hub South East first.

Some examples of what you could apply for bursary support for:

For successful applicants, Film Hub South East can fund up to 90% of the costs of training course fees, travel and accommodation costs related to attending training, and other costs related to professional development. Please note attendance at international film festivals is not eligible.

Bursary funds are limited and unfortunately we will not be able to support every application.

Bursaries of up to £750 are available (inclusive of VAT). Organisations can only receive a maximum of £750 in the period April 2021 to March 2022, and applications are limited to one participant, per organisations, per event,  so please be sure to discuss plans with your colleagues before applying.

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions below for more detailed information. To apply, download the application form and email your completed form to:

If you have any questions about applying for a bursary after reading the FAQ please contact us on or phone 0207 636 7120.


What is the BFI Film Audience Network?

The BFI Film Audience Network (or FAN) was originally set up in 2012, using funds from the National Lottery, to support a stronger and more connected approach to growing audiences for British and international film on the big screen.  It divided film exhibition activity in the UK into regions, each led by a regional Film Hub.

From 2017, FAN is part of the BFI’s five-year plan BFI2022 and central to BFI2022’s commitment to give everyone, everywhere in the UK the opportunity to enjoy and learn from the richest and most diverse range of great British and international filmmaking, past, present and future.

The priorities for FAN under BFI2022 are to:

  • Increase access to a wide range of independent British and international film for audiences – especially those outside London;
  • Extend engagement with BFI supported activities across the UK and enhance the quality and cultural depth of audience experience;
  • Increase access to the UK’s screen heritage especially via the BFI’s National Film and TV Archive and those of the regions and nations;
  • Enhance the quality of audience-facing activity, deepen knowledge and build capability in its membership, and;
  • To do this with a particular emphasis on increasing the diversity of audiences and boosting the number of 16-30 year old’s engaging with film activity.

What is Film Hub South East?

Film Hub South East is the Hub region for the South East of England.  Geographically it has grown from the previous iteration of FAN and now covers the following local authority areas: Bedfordshire, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Luton, Medway, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Peterborough, Reading, Slough, Southend-on-Sea, Suffolk, Surrey, Thurrock, West Berkshire, West Sussex, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham.

From 2018, Film Hub South East is managed by the Independent Cinema Office (ICO), the UK’s national agency for the development and support of independent film exhibition.

What does Film Hub South East do?

Like all of the regional Film Hubs, Film Hub South East works on behalf of the BFI and in partnership with its members to deliver specific outcomes in its region against the priorities listed above.

Which organisations are eligible for a Training and Professional Development bursary?

Staff Members and volunteers of Film Hub South East Member organisations that show at least 12 films per year.

Applicants that have not previously received support through the bursary scheme will take priority over previous awardees.

We are unlikely to support:

  • a previous bursary recipient to take part in the same activity more than once;
  • more than one person per organisation to participate in a particular development opportunity.

However, if you can make a strong case for support in these circumstances your application will be considered.

What kind of activities will be supported?

These bursaries are designed to support training and professional development activities for organisations that would otherwise not be able to afford to support their staff (or volunteers) in these activities. Relevant activities might include attending training courses, conferences or screening events.

Applications to attend international film festivals are not eligible.

Only economy/ standard class travel costs will be eligible for support.

Costs related to caring responsibilities are also eligible (with receipts from certified childcare providers or registered carers).

What are the priorities for the scheme?

Decisions on allocating bursary funding will be made by a senior member of FHLO staff. Please bear in mind that demand for bursaries generally outstrips available resources and as such we will not always be able to offer support to everyone or to the level requested. We will give priority to those requests that most closely fit our priorities.

Priorities for support

(a) We will prioritise support for attendance at events / training that address the BFI2022 priorities, which are:

  • Young audiences
  • Diverse and underserved audiences
  • Screen Heritage
  • Maximising audience choice and deepening cultural engagement

(b) We also wish to use our Bursary Scheme to support the BFI Diversity Standards by:

  • enabling people/ organisations from under-represented groups to access training and professional development opportunities;
  • broadening the range of films available to audiences with diverse narratives, casts, crew and places depicted;
  • promoting training and professional development opportunities that will help to develop under-served or disadvantaged audiences (including ways of improving access for disabled audiences).

(c) The UK has on offer a rich array of film festivals, screening events, conferences and training opportunities. Many of these are organised by FAN members, providing great opportunities for learning, profile raising and relationship building. We will prioritise attendance at activities that contribute to this vibrant UK scene.

d) FAN funding is drawn from the National Lottery good causes and as such we wish to ensure there is a clear public value from our investment. We will therefore give priority to those requests that we believe offer best value for money.

In summary, the strongest applications will be those that in the view of the FHLO, clearly establish:

(a) A strategic fit with BFI2022 and Hub priorities;

(b) Support for BFI Diversity Standards;

(c) The specific benefits of supported activity and its likely legacy for your organisation and the wider Hub network;

(d) Value for money.

How do I apply?

When do I need to apply by?

You must apply a minimum of four weeks prior to the start of the event/activity. Applications for activities that have already taken place will not be accepted.

How long will it take for a decision to be made on applications?

Decisions will be communicated no later than four weeks after applications are received.

How much can members apply for?

Bursaries are available of up to £750 (inclusive of VAT).  Applications can be submitted for up to 90% of the full costs of the activity, but in most cases we would not expect to fund more than 75% of the cost.

If applicants are VAT registered, bursary claims should not include any VAT if it will claimed back from HMRC.  If applicants are not VAT registered, bursary claims can include VAT where necessary.

Organisations can receive a maximum of £750 from this fund in the period April 2021 to March 2022 so please be sure to discuss plans with your colleagues before applying.

How will decisions be made?

Please note bursary funds are limited and we will not be able to support every application.

Each application will be assessed by two members of senior ICO staff, who will then discuss and finalise the decision.

Do I need to do anything in return for receiving a bursary?

Successful applicants will be asked to write a report about the impact of the training or professional development activity on their work and future plans, and may also be asked to write a blog post or share their experience with other Film Hub members in other ways (to be discussed with Film Hub South East).

How and when will payments be made?

If your application is successful, we can provide 50% of the bursary up front if necessary.

Final payments will be made after full receipts and reporting paperwork have been submitted. Payment will not be made if you didn’t complete or attend the activity in full. Applicants who need an advance payment should indicate this on their application form.

How much funding is available for the scheme?

£4,210 from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022.

Once the funding has all been allocated and the scheme has closed, this will be communicated to Film Hub South East members.

What do I do if I have further questions about applying for a bursary?

If you have any questions about applying for a bursary after reading this FAQ please contact us at or on 0207 636 7120.

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