MUSiK / News / Fri 05 Jun 2020

Second phase of charity's COVID-19 financial hardship funding

Second phase of charity's COVID-19 financial hardship funding

Help Musicians’ second wave of hardship support will help those ineligible for government emergency safety nets or unable to survive on what they receive.

Help Musicians has announced that it will open applications for its new financial hardship fund next week. The latest support initiative from the charity is targeted at self-employed musicians who do not qualify for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and other unemployed musicians who are experiencing significant financial hardship. The fund will open with a total of £2.55m, made up of £2m from the charity’s reserves plus generous donations of £500k from music licensing company PPL and £50k from the Lightbody Foundation.

For those who are eligible, to the extent that funds allow, the charity will offer grant payments for the period 1 June to 31 October, to top up Universal Credit payments where relevant. Where an applicant does not qualify for Universal Credit but is still experiencing significant financial hardship, an assessment will be made based on individual circumstances.

The vast majority of musicians are self-employed, and a recent survey carried out by the charity showed that 25% of these believed they would be ineligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Despite strong and sustained pressure from across the music industry, the government has not changed the terms of the scheme. In response, Help Musicians needs to launch a second phase of funds to provide financial support for those musicians who are left with nothing but Universal Credit, or who are struggling to survive on what little other support they receive.

This new opportunity is launched following the charity’s first phase of financial hardship support which offered one-off grants of £500 to provide immediate short-term relief for professional musicians experiencing financial hardship. Unprecedented demand led to a total of £8.35m being distributed in just over 4 weeks to 16,700 musicians who required urgent financial assistance prior to the announcement of government support schemes.

The application process for this new fund will begin on Friday 5 June 2020

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