There is funding available for artists and freelancers who have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. We hope you find the information below useful. Please note if funding deadlines close, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t reopen. Below is a guide, however please be sure to check the websites for the latest updates.
Actors Benevolent Fund
This ongoing fund is now considering applications for professional actors and stage mangers who have contracted Covid19, are self-isolating or who have applied for Universal Credit or Employment Support. Applications are via online form. They are heavily subscribed and ask people to consider applications carefully before applying. The fund can be used to help you manage your household expenses until you get back on your feet. They may be able to support you with a weekly payment as well as small grants for household bills, such as utilities, home insurance, and car insurance. They may also be able to help with larger, one-off payments, such as disability aids or kitchen appliances. Additionally they offer advice on which benefits you may be eligible for, to ensure you are receiving all the support you are entitled to. Visit the Actors Benevolent Fund website to find out more about the funding available and how you can apply.
Arts Council England
Arts Council England have rounded up all the support from government and other sources for individuals and organisations in the cultural sector. This includes information on: Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Tax relief, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (benefits for individuals if they are unable to work). Visit Arts Council England’s website to find out more about support available during Coronavirus.
British Film Institute (BFI) COVID-19 Production Continuation Fund
Up to £2m is available to independent British productions interrupted by COVID-19. Awards made through the Fund are intended to support unexpected additional production costs arising directly from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that cannot be covered from other sources. They are intended to help put the production company and the project in the best possible position to resume production when it is safe and practical. The fund is currently closed. Visit the British Film Institute website to find out more about the Continuation Fund and if it will reopen.
BFI Film Audience Network & Film Hub North – Covid-19 Resilience Fund.
The fund aims to provide critical relief to independent film exhibitors affected by venue closures. In the North, they’ve made 20 awards and are providing grants to a range of organisations that make film culture possible in their communities. From multi-arts venues in Northumberland to community cinemas in Merseyside, the exhibitors they’re supporting champion cinema across the region and in their own ways throughout the sector. Applications currently closed. Visit the BFI website to find out more about the Covid-19 Resilience Fund and if it will reopen.
Dancer’s Hardship Fund
Established in response to Covid-19, this financial support is for professional dancers – freelance dancers across genres. Grants of £2k per person are available for food, rent and necessary communication. Eligibility: You need 3 years’ experience or more as a dancer in the UK (you’ll need a CV as evidence). 50% of your normal income must come from dance. For people age 18+, who live in England and have less than £6k savings. You must be able to evidence work/contracts cancelled as a result of Covid-19. Applications to this fund are currently closed and will reopen on Monday 29th June. Visit the Dance Professionals website to find out more about the Dancer’s Hardship Fund and how you can apply.
Directors Charitable Foundation
The ongoing Directors Support Scheme has been expanded to respond to Covid19. This is designed to offer short-term emergency support for directors of stage and screen. Application via online form. All applicants will receive a decision from the Scheme panel within 21 days of application. Grants are expected to be in the region of £500. Visit the Directors Charitable Foundation website to find out more about the Directors Support Scheme Fund and how you can apply.
Equity Charitable Trust
The Coronavirus Emergency Welfare Support Fund provides funding for freelancers. Applications are welcomed from professional actors, circus, aerialists, puppeteers or variety performers, and stage managers. Eligibility: You must have worked on an Equity contract but do not need to hold and Equity card. They assess applications weekly. Visit the Equity Charitable Trust website to find out more about the Emergency Welfare Fund and how you can apply.
Facebook Small Business Grants
Offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. Examples of how you might use the finding: To keep your workforce going strong, to help with rent and operational cost, to connect with more customers, to support your community. For your business to be eligible it must have between 2 – 50 employees and been in business for over a year. Your business must have experienced challenges due to COVID-19, and be located in (or nearby) a place where Facebook operates. Visit the Facebook website to find out more about their small business grants and when they reopen for UK applications.
Film & TV Charity Community Grants
Helping cover costs for those volunteering their time to help the film and TV community. If you work in film, TV or cinema and have an idea for an activity that could help your friends and colleagues in the industry during the crisis, you can apply for a small Community Grant of £150 – £250, up to a maximum of £1,000, to cover set-up costs and expenses. It’s important to try to stay connected and support each other at the moment. Shared activities, trying something new or getting creative can help us to stay in touch and take our minds off things. These grants are designed for grassroots organisations or individuals. Your activity could tackle isolation, connect people, involve professional development, skill sharing, mentoring or career development, or financial advice. Examples of things the fund could cover include: administrative costs, software, video conferencing fees, subtitles and British Sign Language interpretation or social media marketing. Applications currently closed. Visit the Film and TV Charity website to find out more about Community Grants, and how to apply.
Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund
The Freelands Foundation has partnered with a-n (The Artists Information Company) to set up a new £1.5m Emergency Fund for artists and freelancers who work in the visual arts and are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fund will provide grants of £1,500 – £2,500. Applications are currently closed. Visit the Artists Information Company website to find out more about the Foundation Emergency Fund and if it will reopen.
Leeds Inspired Small Grant Scheme
In light of the COVID-19 situation some changes have been made to the Leeds Inspired Grant Scheme. They have boosted the Small Grant Scheme using funds from the temporarily suspended Main Grant Scheme. We have done this to enable the arts sector to access funds quickly and respond to the new demand for online events in Leeds. The limit for a Leeds Inspired Small Grant application has been increased to £1200 per application and we have increased the deadlines so that they are now monthly until the end of the year. Deadlines: 2nd July, 6th August, 3rd September, 2nd October & 5th November 2020. Visit the Leeds Inspired website to find out more about the Small Grant Scheme and how you can apply.
Musicians Union Hardship Fund
It must be emphasised that this is a hardship fund and not a fee replacement fund. The fund will not stretch very far if members who have lost bookings but are not in dire need of financial help all apply. Eligibility: The fund is open to any current member who is a UK resident currently paying the full MU membership subscription rate, or joint MU / NEU membership subscription rate (either in full or by Direct Debit). You must be suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Visit the Musicians Union website to find out more about the Hardship Fund and how you can apply.
PRS Foundation Sustaining Creativity Fund
Designed for music creators experiencing hardship from loss of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This fund helps UK music creators to do what they do best, using a new model to support music making, however that looks. It offers support of £750 to make a difference and supports outstanding talent in flexible ways. The grant can be spent on anything that enables music creators to continue to create exceptional new music. This includes using support to adapt and sustain careers by covering lost income, supporting your costs or cash-flow. It allows creators to spend time writing, recording, collaborating, innovating and making creative plans. Funding will be available to those making music in any genre. Visit the PRS Foundation website to find out more about the Sustaining Creativity Fund and how you can apply. Next deadline (round 3) TBC.
National Benevolent Society – Emergency Coronavirus Fund
This is an emergency payment for people have lost their job or are on reduced hours and have therefore had their income substantially reduced because of Coronavirus – and who are suffering hardship as a result. The payment is to buy food and the maximum award payable is £300 per household. You will be asked to supply your most recent bank statement to evidence your earnings and most recent employment. Only one application per household. Please note priority will be given to those people who have dependants such as children, people with disabilities or older people, living in their household. Eligibility: You must be a UK resident age 18+ who has lost their job or had your hours reduced because of Coronavirus. Please ensure you are claiming or trying to claim all the benefits you are entitled to before applying. Visit the National Benevolent Society to find out more about the Emergency Coronavirus Fund, including how you can apply. Your application will be reviewed within 5 working days.
Royal Variety Charity
The effect of the Coronavirus pandemic is being felt by many thousands of self-employed and contract workers throughout the country, with few having been so badly hit as those working in the Entertainment industry. With theatres across the country closed until further notice, film and TV shows suspended mid-shoot, and live music events, festivals and concerts having been cancelled, we really are experiencing unprecedented times. The Royal Variety Charity provides financial assistance to anyone who serves any facet of the Entertainment Industry (including theatre, film and TV), should they find themselves experiencing unforeseen financial hardship as a result of ill-health. Visit the Royal Charity website to find out more about their nationwide grant scheme and how you can apply.
Society of Authors
Grants of up to £2000 are available to meet urgent need, with the possibility of review as the situation continues. The fund is open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK, including: all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others. If your author-related activities usually make up a substantial amount of your annual income, then you are eligible to apply. The fund cannot cover publication costs, tuition fees or a specific writing project costs. They usually notify applicants of the outcome within four weeks. Visit the Society of Author’s website to find out more about the Authors’ Emergency Fund and how you can apply.
Turn 2 Us
People in financial crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic can receive immediate help in the form of a cash grant from the national poverty charity, Turn2us. A one-off payment of £500 will not need to be paid back and is an expansion of the support the charity already provides via its grant making and support services. This crisis grant is intended to be a financial life line for people who meet the fund’s simple eligibility criteria, and will be put into people’s bank accounts as soon as possible. One million people have come to Turn2us for help in the last three weeks alone – a 520% increase. Applications are temporarily closed. Visit the Turn2us website to find out more about the Coronavirus Grant Fund and when you can apply.
CORONAVIRUS INDUSTRY ADVICE & GUIDANCE
Association of Independent Music (AIM): The not-for-profit trade body exclusively representing the UK’s independent music sector. Visit the AIM website for music business advice and support during Coronavirus. It includes advice on events, business disruption and financial assistance.
Cities and Memory: A global collaborative sound project encompassing field recording, sound art and sound mapping – remixing the world, one sound at a time. Every location on the Cities and Memory sound map features two sounds: the original field recording of that place, and a reimagined sound that presents that place and time as somewhere else, somewhere new. The listener can explore places through their actual sounds, to explore reimagined versions of what those places could be – or to flip between the two different sound worlds at leisure. The website is a helpful ongoing resource for anyone interested in sound and field recording at this time. Visit the Cities and Memory website for sound resources and projects for during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Create Jobs and Creative Society: Employment Surgeries for Creative Careers. Age 18-30? Create Jobs have teamed up with Creative Society to support more young people with their creative careers by hosting one-to-one employment surgeries. Every Friday you can get help from a member of the team to support you with your creative career during lockdown. Book your half hour slot to get help with with: job hunting and careers search, applications and interviews, and also advice for employees, furloughed staff and the self-employed. You can also get guidance to other services out there to support your health and well-being. Slots are available for the following Friday session only. Visit the Create Jobs website to double check Employment Surgeries are still running, then drop them an email to book your slot.
Help Musicians UK: An independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement. Music Minds Matter is Help Musicians UK’s free 24/7 support line for the UK music industry. It doesn’t have to be a crisis, or about music – you can access free counselling and CBT over the phone or online from qualified counsellors. They offer emotional support, advice and information, and signpost to other specialist services including debt and legal advice, and Help Musicians UK grants. Whatever you’re going through right now, you can contact Music Minds Matter on 0808 802 8008 or email them at MMM@helpmusicians.org.uk. Visit the Help Musicians UK website for information, financial and health support during Coronavirus.
Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM): The UK’s professional body for musicians and subject association for music. Visit the ISM website for Coronavirus guidance for musicians and teachers (private or employed).
Independent Venue Week (IVW): A 7-day celebration of music venues around the country and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them, week in, week out. If you’re a grassroots music venue, visit the IVW website for help and advice on crowdfunding campaigns, cancellations and more.
Musicians Union (MU): An organisation which represents over 32000 musicians working in all sectors of the music business. Visit the MU website for mental health resources and services for musicians. It includes Music Minds Matter, Music Support, BAPAM and a Freelancers Guide. You can also join their mailing list to receive the latest advice for Coronavirus affected musicians.
Music Managers Forum (MMF): Since its inception in 1992, the MMF has worked hard to educate, inform and represent UK managers as well as offering a network through which managers can share experiences, opportunities and information. Their membership stands at over 850 managers based in the UK with global businesses and a wider network of over 2700 managers in the USA. If you’re a music manager visit the MMF website for advice about insurance, show cancellations and travel.
Music Venue Trust (MVT): A UK Registered Charity which acts to protect, secure and improve UK Grassroots Music Venues for the benefit of venues, communities and upcoming artists. If you’re a music venue visit the MVT website for information and guidance during Coronavirus.
PRS Foundation: The UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development. Whether you’ve already applied for funding, or if you were considering it in the future – visit the PRS Foundation website to get the latest Coronavirus advice for funding grantees and applicants.
ScreenSkills: The industry-led skills body for the screen industries. If you’re a freelancer visit the ScreenSkills website for information on managing money and accessing government and industry support during the Covid-19 Crisis.
UK Music: An industry-funded body that represents the collective interests of the recorded, published and live arms of the British music industry. UK Music is in continuous discussions with Government Ministers and officials about the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry. Public health advice can change from hour to hour, so regularly check the website for constantly updated information. Visit the UK Music website for information on Government health and travel advice, financial support, mental health, music education and industry advice.
Virtual Events Directory: This resource contains three main sections. 1) An introductory foreword discussing how the music industry mindset around live streaming is slowly shifting from dismissing the format as a “niche” or “nice-to-have,” to embracing the format as an imperative for ensuring global accessibility and reach amidst extreme conditions such as Coronavirus. 2) A list of tools that artists and speakers can use to host virtual shows, panels and meetups, especially in the wake of major festivals like SXSW, Ultra, Miami Music Week and Coachella getting postponed or cancelled. 3) A list of public livestreaming and virtual-event calendars, many of which are open to submissions. Visit the Virtual Events Directory for information, advice and guidance on hosting events online.
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Coronavirus affects us all in different ways – now is an important time to remember to look after your health and well-being. Below are some Leeds based organisations that have useful resources on how we can cope. You can also get in touch with them if you need further support.
ActiveLeeds: To keep your body and mind healthy at home they have recently launched online resources for all ages, including home workout tutorials, guidance and information, and fun challenges to try at home. Visit the ActiveLeeds website for tips on keeping healthy and active during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service: Their treatments are available for people aged 17 and over who are registered with a Leeds GP. They provide support and psychological therapies for common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, which one in four of us will experience in our lives. There is a wide range of self-help therapy resources on their website including free online courses and videos. Visit the Leeds Mental Wellbeing website to find out more about their health services and how they can support you.
Leeds Mind: They provide a wide range of services including counselling and employment support. Visit the Leeds Mind website to see how they are delivering support during Coronavirus, and how you can access their services during this time.
MindMate: A trusted Leeds-based website specifically for children and young people, their families and the professionals who support them. Visit the MindMate website for information on Coronavirus and how to take care of your mental wellbeing.
MindWell: Coronavirus is affecting all of us and many people are feeling anxious and worried. This hub has resources, videos and information to help people in Leeds take care of their mental health at this challenging time – #TogetherLeeds #StayAlert. Visit the MindWell website for the latest information and resources to help you take care of your mental health at this time. It’s also helpful if you’re concerned about someone or if you’re a professional supporting others.
For the latest accurate Coronavirus information please see the websites below.
Government Website: Visit the Government website for the latest Coronavirus information and advice.
Leeds City Council Website: Call the helpline on 0113 378 1877 if you’re self-isolating and don’t have friends or family nearby who can help. Volunteers can help you with shopping, transport to medical appointments, or a call to check how you are. Visit the Leeds City Council website to find out how council services are affected during Coronavirus and how you can get help.
NHS Website: Includes information about symptoms, people at high risk, testing, Coronavirus in children, social distancing and more. Visit the NHS website for health advice on Coronavirus.