We’ve compiled a list of key resources to help you navigate the challenges of COVID-19, which we’ll continue to update going forward.
Help from Government
For Freelancers and Self-Employed
- Self Employment Income Support Scheme:
- Announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 26 March, but not to be launched until June (obviously a major problem). You can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. You must prove you earn 50% of your income from being self-employed, you’ve been adversely affected by Clovid-19, you've submitted your self assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, and have profits below £50,000. More HERE.
- Benefits & Universal Credit:
- For immediate funds you can apply for benefits, see HERE. If your income dries up, you can access the Universal Credit, which the Chancellor temporarily increased to match the level of statutory sick pay at £94.25 per week. However, those applying for the first time will usually have to wait for 5 weeks before receiving a cheque. More HERE.
- Tax Helpline & Potential Delays on Payments:
- HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline (0800 024 1222, Mon-Fri 8am-4pm) to support self-employed and businesses concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to Clovid-19. Depending on individual circumstances, it may be possible to delay payment. More HERE.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for PAYE Employees:
- Companies can retain employees on their payroll even though they have no work to do (called “furloughed” by the Government). The Government will pay up to 80% of those employees' wages, capped at £2,500 per month, back-dated to the start of March and distributed via the employer “within weeks.” More HERE.
- Deferring VAT Payments:
- VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months, see HERE.
- For Bricks & Mortar Businesses Subject to Business Rates: Small Business Grants & Business Rates Holiday:
Insider's Guide To Navigating Government Support: Ex PM Advisor Jimmy McLoughlin’s Newsletter: Jimmy is the former No. 10 PM Business Advisor and a huge champion of CE, having hosted with me a series of Roundtables at No. 10 on creative entrepreneurship. He's publishing regular newsletters on Government support and other key resources. Sign up HERE.
New Support Programme for the Charity Sector: Chancellor Rishi Sunak just announced, on 8 April, £750 million in economic support for the charity sector, see HERE.
Government Guidance: How to access government financial support if you or your business has been affected by Covid-19. Excellent practical answers to many questions, both personal and professional, we are hearing across our community e.g. problems paying your mortgage, personal loans, credit cards, tax bills, making insurance claims (pandemics are not usually covered unfortunately) - do check it out HERE.
HMRC Guidance on Making Claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Recall this scheme allows employers to furlough PAYE/payroll employees, with the government then paying 80% of of their wages. Excellent practical guidance just released by HMRC HERE. Hope we see similar soon for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
FAQ’s on Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Excellent practical advice HERE.
Ban on Evictions for Commercial Tenants Who Miss Rent Payments: No business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months due to Covid-19 - but do communicate openly and in writing with your landlord HERE.
New £1.25bn Support Programme for Startups: It includes a Future Fund which will provide £125k-£5m in convertible loans to match private sector investment, see HERE. However there’s a major hurdle: companies must have already raised £250k of equity investment, ruling out promising earlier stage companies - hope this gets fixed.
The Job Rentention Scheme has been expanded: to benefit more newly-hired employees and has been extended until the end of June HERE.
The Business Loans Scheme has been expanded: to businesses of all sizes HERE.
Universal Credit: If you are a recent freelancer and are therefore not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme HERE, you should look at claiming Universal Credit to keep income coming in during the crisis HERE.
The Business Finance Guide: The British Business Bank - backed by the UK government - and ICAEW have worked with partner organisations to update this brilliant guide, containing information and advice about managing cash during these turbulent times, and about accessing government support such as the Business Interruption Loan Scheme HERE.
New Bounce Back Loans for Micro-Businesses Launching 9am on 4 May: Up to £50k within 24 hours of being approved, interest free for 12 months and no repayments due in the first year - crucial help for what is a major segment of our Creative Entrepreneurs community HERE.
The Government’s Plan for Getting Back to Business Is In the Works: Next week they’ll release a series of papers outlining their plan to restart the economy, see HERE.
The Government’s New Digital Skills Toolkit: Free digital and numeracy courses HERE - as we’ve seen it’s key for everyone to feel at the top of their digital game.
London Mayor’s New £2.3m Culture at Risk Business Support Fund: To support London’s creative and cultural industries including grassroots music venues, LGBTQ+ venues, artist workspaces and independent cinemas HERE.
Government is Doubling its investment in the Fast Start Competition: Innovative businesses and start-ups are to benefit from a £40 million fund to drive forward new technological advances. Don’t be put off by the idea that this is technology-focussed - one of the innovations has been a virtual farmers market! Find out more HERE.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Ends this weekend, but 113 MPs have signed a letter urging the Chancellor to extend it HERE, as he has done for the furlough scheme. You can still submit your application HERE. If you haven't received a letter from HMRC inviting you to apply, check if you're eligible HERE. You will need to have your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and National Insurance number to hand.
£40m Grant Funding Confirmed for Post-COVID Business Projects: Innovate UK will share grant funding among 800 businesses that will develop new products and services designed to boost economic impact post-pandemic. Areas include retail, food manufacturing and delivery services. More HERE.
Corporate Governance & Insolvency Bill: Will introduce a number of measures to combat the challenges of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on insolvency and company law. The new bill incorporates additional protections in various forms for businesses that are struggling. Details HERE.
Culture Secretary Creates Cultural Renewal Taskforce: Oliver Dowden has selected representatives from the arts, cultural and sporting worlds to join the Taskforce, aiming to get the country's recreation and leisure sectors up and running again. Find out how HERE.
Cultural Renewal Taskforce to be Chaired by Neil Mendoza: Creative entrepreneur (publishing) and all around good guy Neil Mendoza has been appointed Commissioner for Cultural Recovery & Renewal, overseeing the Taskforce. This is seriously good news for our creative sector to have Neil and team leading the creative charge. Details HERE.
Help from the Creative Industries
Film & TV Emergency Relief Fund: The BFI and The Film and TV Charity have partnered to create the new fund to support the creative community during the Covid-19 crisis, with a £1m donation from Netflix. More HERE.
Arts Council England £160m Emergency Funding: For organisations and individuals with ACE funding, see the new ACE support HERE.
British Film Institute £4.6m Support Package for UK Film & TV: Amazing, BFI have leapt into action and re-purposed over £4.6m in National Lottery funding to target film & TV areas most badly hit by Covid-19 HERE.
Sony Music $100m Covid-19 Global Relief Fund: An epic effort to support creators, artists and others in the entertainment community, as well as frontline medical workers, children and educators, all who have been affected by Covid-19 HERE.
British Fashion Council £1m Emergency Fund: The BFC are making £1m of emergency funds available to fashion businesses and individuals, with a portion allocated to students HERE.
ITV Development Fund for Indies: ITV has created a £500,000 development fund targeted at the UK independent sector to help producers during the Covid-19 crisis HERE.
BBC Support for Independent Production: Includes doubling its investment in its Small Indie Fund, supercharging development and investment in archive rights HERE.
Arts Council England has launched two new emergency funds: £20m for individuals and £50m for organisations not in the National Portfolio HERE.
The Prince’s Trust & NatWest £5m Fund for Entrepreneurs under 30: Grants and tailored support to maintain core business operations during the crisis HERE.
Innovate UK £20m Fast-Track Competition for Grants up to £50k per Project Closing 17 April: Looking for business-led innovation in response to the global Covid-19 disruption - examples would include new platforms and software for musical artists to stream live performances and connect remotely to their fans and audiences, and tech to help retailers better respond to spikes in customer demand HERE.
Film + TV Charity Repayable Grants Scheme: to support freelancers, HERE. This is in addition to their already established Emergency Relief Fund HERE and their 24/7 mental health support line HERE.
Support for Theatre Professionals: An excellent list of financial, mental health and other support available from leading theatrical charities HERE.
Authors' Emergency Fund: From literary bodies and Amazon UK, emergency grants up to £2k for professional writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets and journalists in the UK or British citizens HERE.
Funds for Music Professionals: PRS Foundation Sustaining Creativity Fund for Professional Musicians HERE, Musicians’ Union Hardship Fund HERE; other music funds have already been depleted, but they may find more funding, so it’s worth checking back: Help Musicians Hardship Fund HERE, PRS Emergency Relief Fund HERE.
Dance Professionals Fund: HERE
GUAP Fund for Freelancers: Our friends at innovating video magazine GUAP have launched a fund to give £100 every week to a new creative aged 16-30 HERE.
Women Photograph + Nikon and Getty Images Grants: For women and non-binary photographers based anywhere, $5,000 from the Nikon grants and $10,000 a Getty Images scholarship HERE.
New £2m BFI Crisis Fund for Indies: Up to £150k will be awarded to productions interrupted as a result of Covid-19, hugely needed support HERE.
Crafts Council's Covid-19 Resources Page: Excellent guidance for makers and their businesses HERE.
ITV & BT "Top Tips on Tech" Video Series: With hosts including Clare Balding, Fearne Cotton and Rylan Clark-Neil HERE.
London Mayor’s Brilliant "Culture at Risk" Resources Listing: A growing wealth of guidance and support from across the creative sectors HERE.
AKQA & Minecraft’s New Videogame To Explain Social Distancing to Kids:Our friends at AKQA have teamed up to produce a game that shows kids various social distancing scenarios and their outcomes HERE.
Applications Open for Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund: The £1.5m fund was launched to support artists and freelancers across the UK who have been affected by COVID-19. Deadline for applications: 2pm, Thursday 18 June. Details HERE.
Banksy's Latest Work, a Tribute to Nurses: Banksy's latest work - an homage to the true superheroes of the pandemic - nurses - has been installed in the Southampton General Hospital and will be auctioned later this year to raise money for the NHS. Check it out HERE.
Arts Council England's Digital Culture Network: Working across the arts and culture sector to develop organisations' digital skills, reach and engage audiences, help develop business models and provide digital support during the COVID crisis. Info HERE.
Artist Takashi Murakami's Collaboration with Supreme Raised Over $1m: Sales of the $60 t-shirt have been donated to Help USA, an NPO who are putting all funds towards their COVID-19 emergency efforts. Details HERE.
Swans for Relief: Watch 32 premier ballerinas from 22 dance companies in 14 countries perform Le Cygne (The Swan), in support of Swans for Relief. 100% of the funds raised will be distributed to each dancer’s company’s COVID-19 relief fund, or other arts/dance-based relief funds. Watch HERE.
Help on Health Awareness
BBC Coronavirus Page HERE. I highly recommend this page. It’s super practical, answering questions like “Can the virus live on the packaging my food deliveries come in?” (The answer is yes!)
NHS Website HERE. Also very practical advice on how to keep yourself safe.
World Health Organisation (WHO) HERE. The authoritative global body for this pandemic and all things global health - they’re the ones who said “test, test, test” - we’re still waiting...
How You Can Help
S.O.S: Save Our Startups - Sign the Petition: Launched by Crowdcube and sending the message to the Prime Minister about the risk of losing a generation of British startups. Read the open letter and please sign the petition HERE.
Creative Industries Federation & IPSE Freelancer Support Fund - Sign the Petition: Calling on government to create a Temporary Income Protection Fund for Freelancers, desperately needed, please sign the petition HERE.
Participate in Covid Research: Kings College Symptom Tracker App: Allows scientists to track people (anonymously), their symptoms and distribution to gather important data in understanding and fighting the the virus HERE.
Creative Industries Federation & Crowdfunder Pay It Forward: You can pre-buy tickets, products and services from creatives so they can generate cash now, to be redeemed after the crisis HERE.
London Mayor Pay It Forward London: You can pre-buy goods and services from small businesses on this Mayor of London crowdfunding platform, redeemable after the crisis, to help them survive HERE.
Artist Wolfgang Tilmans’ Poster Project to Support the Arts: His #2020Solidarity project aims to help cultural venues, projects, spaces and publications existentially threatened by Covid-19, generating funds from poster sales HERE.
#ArtistSupportPledge from The Crafts Council and Artist Matthew Burrows: Artists post their works on Instagram, with prices up to £200, when they reach £1k they pledge to buy £200 of work from another artist HERE.
Film & TV Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund: Donate to this fund, set up by The Film & TV Charity and BAFTA HERE.
Sofar Sounds Global Artist Fund: The fund aims to raise $250,000 for Sofar independent artists whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19. 100% of proceeds go directly to the artists. Find out more and donate HERE.