Manchester's Brand-new 'Hardship Fund' to give grants to Arts Freelancers

The £500,000 fund will make grants of £1,500 to freelancers in creative & culture sectors...

By Manchester's Finest | 26 January 2021

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A brand new hardship fund aimed specifically at freelancers who work in the creative and culture sector in Manchester and who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 has been announced.

Thanks to the generosity of Manchester based charity The Savannah Wisdom Foundation and B&M Retail PLC, from next week freelancers, including artists, will be able to apply for a one-off grant to help tide them over.

The Foundation has created a discretionary fund – the Cultural Sector Hardship Fund for Freelancers – to support freelancers working in the creative and cultural sectors who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

It is making up to £500,000 available in grants of £1,500 to individual freelancers.

Applications for support from the fund are open to all Manchester residents who are usually employed in a freelance capacity in the creative and cultural sectors – including music, theatre, dance, combined arts, visual arts, museums, literature, creative industries, and heritage culture – and whose work contributes to direct creative or cultural outcomes.

Greater Manchester residents who can show most of their work is normally in Manchester are also eligible to apply.

The grants are designed to assist those whose freelance work has been lost or disrupted because of Covid-19 and who are experiencing hardship because of reduced demand for, or capacity to deliver their services, or because the part of the sector they work in is temporarily unable to trade – which may be due to local or national lockdown measures, social distancing requirements, or loss of trade.

With the nation in yet another lockdown and venues still closed, the future remains uncertain for many cultural organisations and the freelancers who work with them.

Theatres, libraries, museums, and arts centres were amongst the first to have to close their doors to the public last March at the start of the pandemic – and for many who work in the sector this brought a stop to their income and livelihoods.

The Savannah Wisdom Foundation has asked Manchester City Council to administer the scheme on their behalf and to assist the application and decision-making process.

The Cultural Sector Hardship Fund for Freelancers opens to applicants next week on Monday 1 February and grants will be awarded up to the point when the total amount available for the scheme has been allocated.

Additional support for the grant application scheme is also being provided by the city centre arts organisation HOME, whose staff will be providing a dedicated telephone helpline service for freelancers to get in touch with any questions they’ve got about the grant scheme or about the application process.


Applications will be processed on a first-come first-served basis and in order of receipt from the date the scheme opens up to the point at which all funds have been fully allocated.

Click here to apply…

Cultural Hardship Fund