COVID-19 Financial Support for Creatives

The Government is being lobbied to provide a national programme of financial support for the Creative Industries.  Negotiations are ongoing but until such time as the Government agrees to recognise the specific needs of the Creative Sector then Creative Organisations themselves are stepping into the breach.

Here are some of the programmes that are available:

Arts Council England:  ACE has suspended its main grant programmes to create a £160m emergency response package for individuals and organisations affected by Covid-19 including £20m to individual practitioners and freelancers.  The current funding round is open to 30th April.  (Applications to be made through the ACE grants portal ‘Grantium’ (See ACE Covid-19 webpage for details) HOWEVER people are reporting delays and difficulties with the system, so be prepared to spend some time.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation is offering a £20m emergency fund and will this year split its £1m visual artists and composers’ awards amongst EVERY eligible entrant.

Directors Charitable Foundation:  The Directors Charitable Foundation is offering small grants to support theatrical and screen directors through its Directors Support Scheme. Application form and more information here.

PRS Emergency Relief Fund:  The Performing Rights Society members’ fund and PRS Foundation have partnered to launch a relief fund for PRS members.  The First round of funding has just closed but keep an eye here for future information.

Facebook Small Business Grants ProgrammeFacebook is offering $100M in cash grants and credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.  An international fund and not solely targeted towards the Creative Industries but definitely worth applying if you fit the criteria.

Gift Aid:  The Government has indicated that it will enable theatres and other cultural venues to keep Gift Aid on payments made for events cancelled due to coronavirus. The Charity Tax Group and others, including Arts Council England, are lobbying for the tax relief to be applied to any refund donated to charities in lieu of cancelled tickets or debts not to be collected.

Additional Sector Specific Support includes:


Society of Authors:  The Society of Authors in collaboration with other foundations and funders has created a £330k Authors Emergency Fund.  Maximum grants are likely to be up to £2,000 Applications are open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK or British subjects.  See Society of Authors for details.

Writers Guild of Great Britain also has a Welfare Fund for members in emergency and unexpected financial need.   For further information see Writers Guild website.


The British Film Institute has repurposed National Lottery funding to provide a programme of support, targeting specific areas of the sector including exhibitors, freelancers and producers.

The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) has opened the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund, offering emergency relief for small and medium sized audience facing organisations with a particular focus on venue based exhibitors. Deadline for applications is Wednesday 6 May 2020.  Applications to be made through the regional BFI Film Hubs (see here for Hub links)

Screen Scotland:
Bridging Bursary Scheme to support freelance or self-employed screen practitioners working in Scotland’s screen sector who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of screen sector income in Scotland as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Also:

Film & TV: Single Project Development Funding: £1million of ring-fenced funding for Scotland’s independent film and television production companies, supporting them to develop projects across film and television in scripted and unscripted genres, for live-action and animation.


The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has launched a support fund to support contractors and freelance workers in the independent music industry

Musicians’ Union Hardship Fund:  £1m hardship fund for current MU members experiencing hardship. Maximum grant currently  £200.  See Musicians’ Union website for more information and application details


Equity Charitable Trust:  Offers grants to industry professionals who are eligible for an Equity card (you do not have to be a current Equity card holder to qualify) See website for details Note: this is not a COVID-19 specific scheme and operates on a regular application cycle

The Actors’ Benevolent Fund:  Is considering applications from professional actors, actresses and stage managers who have contracted Covid-19, or are self-isolating because they are unwell and have already claimed Universal Credit/Employment Support Allowance or are already receiving other means tested benefits.  Application details and further information  here.

The Royal Theatrical Fund:   Support for people of all ages whose main career is in the performing arts working for at least 7 years and are unable to work due to illness, injury or infirmity.  All benefits and grants available from the Government need to have been claimed. Further information Here.


British Fashion Council Foundation Fashion Fund for the Covid Crisis is making £1m available to support creative fashion businesses and individuals to survive the Coronavirus crisis.


Google is offering a global emergency relief fund for local news publishers


Historic England Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund:  Support for third-sector organisations and voluntary groups managing heritage projects, as well as heritage organisations and self-employed contractors working in the heritage sector who are severely affected by the impact of Coronavirus and who need additional emergency financial support beyond the Government’s measures.  Applications open to 3rd May Further information and application details Here

The National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund is accepting applications for funding from £3,000 to £50,000 from not for profit organisations who have received current or previous funding from the Heritage Fund. Applications are currently open – Deadline 30 June 2020.  Further information and application details Here


Liverpool Mayor’s Fund for Creatives:  £400k fund to support Creatives in the Music, and Film/TV industries.

West Midlands Combined Authority: Scale-up support package for creative businesses.

Arts Council of Wales:  Arts Resiliance Fund:   £1m across 3 programmes Urgent Response Fund for Individuals (open now), Stabilisation Fund for Individuals (opens Tuesday 21/04/2020), Stabilisation Fund for Organisations (Opens Friday 29th May 2020)


A Creative blog
This entry was posted in Creative industries, freelancers, Funding, micro-companies. Bookmark the permalink.