Literacy Special Initiative Funding Application
Literacy Special Initiative
Literacy Special Initiative (Primary Aged Children) Phase 2/Cohort 2 - Funding Open


Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak, and listen in a way that enables us to communicate and make sense of the world. A lack of vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child it is a barrier to success at school, as a young adult it can lock you out of the job market, and as a parent it makes it harder to support your own child’s learning.  

For children and young people facing socio-economic disadvantage a lack of literacy skills can exacerbate the equality gap further. Recently schools have reported a decline in literacy skills, largely attributed to the loss of in-person learning during the Covid pandemic. Specifically, oracy skills (speaking and listening) have fallen behind the expected level.  

The Mercers’ Company, as trustee of the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington, has been supporting Literacy work since 2019. Under Phase One, eight organisations were funded to develop the literacy skills of children who are reluctant readers and writers. Notably, the development of reading and writing for pleasure.  

In January 2024, we funded the first cohort under Phase Two Literacy, which focused on Secondary school students. Read more about our first cohort here

Funding Application Phase Two, Cohort Two

Due to the success of the funding initiative so far, and increasing need for this support, we are pleased to announce that the Mercers’ Literacy Special Initiative Phase Two will now fund a second cohort focused on primary school students. 

The aim is to support projects that help children think of themselves as readers and writers, who have a voice, leading to the below outcomes: 

  •  improved social and emotional skills; 
  • increased ability to engage with school; and 
  • higher attainment and improved life chances. 

 For the second cohort we are looking for proposals that develop the child as a reader and writer by promoting reading and writing for pleasure, and; 

  • include the development of oracy skills; 
  • focus on Key Stages 1 and 2 (511-year-olds); 
  •  focus on children facing disadvantage / those most in need of this kind of support; 
  •  are inclusive, equitable and sustainable. 

The programme launched on Tuesday 12 March with a webinar with a webinar Q&A which can be viewed along with the accompanying slides.

The application process begins with the submission of a short Expression of Interest (EOI) in which we ask applicants to provide basic information about the Literacy work for which funding is requested.  The EOIs will be reviewed and then shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a fuller stage 2 application.

The EOI must be submitted by noon of Monday the 22nd of April 2024.  Part of the EOI form is an eligibility checker which will advise if you can proceed with an EOI.

In early May, applicants will be advised if they are invited to submit a stage 2 application.

The guidelines and full application timeline can be found here.

If you have any questions about the funding round, please contact