• Film and TV Charity open coronavirus relief fund support
  • Grants given up to £2,500 for freelancers out of work
  • Charity calls for more donations following backing from Netflix, WarnerMedia and BFI

The UK’s Covid-19 Film and TV emergency relief fund has opened for applicants to receive a one-off grant up to £2,500 after a survey found 93% of freelancers were out of work.

Alex Pumfrey Film & Television Charity CEO

Alex Pumfrey Film & Television Charity CEO calls for more donations

In partnership with the BFI, the Film and TV Charity launched the fund to support freelancers hit by the closure of productions across the UK and it has opened its applications for those in need.

Single grants will be paid out from anywhere between £500 upto £2,500 on an awards-based need with the backing donations supported by Netflix, the BFI, BBC Studios, BBC Content, WarnerMedia as well as private donors.

According to a survey by The Film and TV Charity, 93% of 1,895 freelancer surveyed between 31 March and 3 April were no longer working due to the crisis and 74% were not expecting to receive any support since they are classified as ineligible for the government’s self-employed income 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, enabling donations to go directly to eligible workers and freelancers across film, TV and cinema.

The Film and TV Charity chief executive Alex Pumfrey 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.”

The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund has started off with an initial £2.5 million, however Pumfrey said the charity expects thousands or even tens of thousands of applications and recognised the need for more funding if its to help all those who need it most.

He added: “By donating, corporates and individuals will be helping those who have been vital to our industry’s huge success story; this is our industry rallying to support our community. I believe we can come together like never before, and that we will eventually emerge from this crisis with a kinder, more compassionate and even more creative spirit.”

You can make a donation here and apply for a one-off grant via the Film and TV Charity website.

The Film and TV Charity has also unveiled the new COVID-19 Film and TV Repayable Grants Scheme offering support for industry freelancers waiting for payments under the Government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Interest-free grants of up to £2,000 ($2,460) will be offered to those eligible for Self-employment Income Support but who are struggling with the wait for payments that are not set to arrive until June.

The COVID-19 Film and TV Repayable Grants Scheme opens April 15. Applicants will have one week to make a claim via The Film and TV Charity’s website. The Relief Fund and Repayable Grants Scheme sit beside the organization’s existing Hardship Fund, which offers grants of up to £500 ($614) to provide stop-gap support.