Emergency fund launched to help freelancers affected by COVID-19 crisis

The UK-based Film & TV Charity has launched an emergency financial relief fund for TV freelancers and is now accepting applications for the one-off grants.

The Film and TV COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund has been created in partnership with the BFI and is able to provide from £500 to £2,500 to active workers in film, TV and cinema facing significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The charity is also asking for further donations to bolster those already received from Netflix, the BFI with funds from the National Lottery, BBC Content, BBC Studios, WarnerMedia and various individuals.

A repayable grant scheme has also been launched.

According to a survey*, more than nine freelancers in 10 (93%) in the UK are no longer working due to the crisis; three-quarters (74%) are not expected to receive any support since they are either ineligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme or have not been furloughed as PAYE freelancers under the Job Retention Scheme.

The Film and TV Charity and the BFI are covering all overheads for the scheme, enabling donations to go directly to eligible workers.

Alex Pumfrey, the chief executive of The Film and TV Charity, said: “Our survey highlights deep anxiety amongst freelancers who are the lifeblood of TV and film production. Our broad and diverse industry – which includes camera operators, lighting and sound specialists, electricians, hair and make-up artists, costume designers through to editors, distributors and cinema staff – faces an emergency caused by a single unprecedented issue.

“Unprecedented times call for an exceptional response. The COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund is unique, time-limited and designed to provide financial support where the need is most acute. Our systems will highlight applicants who are experiencing particular distress and our experienced team will respond to those red flags with personal follow-up calls.”

“We expect thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of applications and know we will need more funds if we are to help all those who need it most. Hence today’s emergency appeal.”

Applications for the one-off grants will be assessed based on need not on when they are received. The closing date is 6pm on Wednesday 22nd April.

To find out more about the one-off grants visit https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/covid-19-help-advice/covid-19-relief-fund/

For information on the repayable grants go to https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/news-event/repayable-grants-scheme-announced/

To make a donation visit https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/

*Online survey conducted by The Film and TV Charity completed by 1,895 people between 31 March and 3 April 2020

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