UK’s COVID-19 Film & TV Emergency Relief Fund Swells To $3M, Now Open For Cash-Strapped Workers

Tom Grater

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The COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund, which is being set up to support UK workers in the industry affected by the pandemic, is now live with an enhanced pot of $3M (£2.5M).

The BFI is the latest org to contribute, adding $600,000 (£500,000) of National Lottery funding, which follows significant grants from Netflix, BBC Studios, BBC Content, WarnerMedia and several unnamed individuals.

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The fund is being administered by the Film and TV Charity with support from BFI staff; the two orgs are covering overheads so donations go entirely to workers. Applications will remain open for two weeks from today via the Charity’s website. One-off grants between £500 ($616) and £2,500 ($3,100) will be awarded based on need. The Charity is appealing for further donations to bolster the pot.

Also today, the Film and TV Charity has unveiled its COVID-19 Film and TV Repayable Grants Scheme, which will go live April 15. The initiative will offer interest-free loans of up to £2,000 ($2,500) while workers wait for the UK government’s self-employment income support scheme to start paying out in June.

“Unprecedented times call for an exceptional response,” said Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity. “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 know a huge number of freelance professionals in our community have been some of the hardest hit during the coronavirus crisis,” added BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts. “We are incredibly thankful for the generosity shown by industry partners and individuals who have stepped in so far to support their colleagues.”

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