Emergency fund runs dry

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Film and TV charity logo The emergency fund launched recently by the Film and TV Charity, in partnership with the BFI has already exceeded its limits, with almost 3000 people applying for more than £5m. 

The fund will provide one-off grants 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 will now begin processing applications but is warning that, without further donations, it will have to prioritise those most in need. 

Since the start of the crisis, the charity has also distributed £140,000 via their long-standing Hardship Fund to nearly 400 people with stop-gap grants of up to £500 to cover essential living costs such as food and bills.  

The charity has seen an increase in demand for their mental health services. Almost 1,800 people have contacted their free, 24-hour Film and TV Support Line in the past six weeks, five times higher than average.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said: “Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our industry.

"People are out of work and desperately worried about their future. The charity has been able to take urgent steps but the number of applications and calls for help demonstrate the extraordinary need for financial support for freelancers.  

“We’re all part of a brilliant, successful and creative community that is now facing some of its toughest ever challenges. We’re hugely thankful to those who have already donated.”  

“We need to do more. We’re urging people to help us to re-open these funds and extend our services to reach more of the most vulnerable in our industry.” 

Contributors to the fund so far include Netflix, BBC Content, BBC Studios, BFI (using funds from the National Lottery), Sky, WarnerMedia and several individuals.   

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