New Film and TV Charity Covid-19 Fund to protect diverse talent

The Film and TV Charity is announcing a new Covid-19 Recovery Fund that will distribute up to £2m to UK film, TV and cinema workers who have been hit hardest by Covid-19, helping to sustain them and their careers through and out of the pandemic.

The new Recovery Fund, founded with a £1m donation from Amazon Prime Video, has grown thanks to donations from BAFTA, BBC Studios, Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and ViacomCBS, as well as the generosity of private donors and the fundraising efforts of many people in the industry.

The new fund will seek to protect the industry’s diverse talent pipeline by focusing on supporting those at greatest personal and professional risk as a result of the pandemic.

Recent research commissioned by the charity has warned of the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on some groups, especially those who may already face barriers to staying in the industry, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers, women, those living outside of London, and people with a disability.

The fund is designed to support people hit hardest financially by the crisis and who are most likely to suffer the negative impact of the crisis on their careers. The scheme will deliver a targeted financial and wellbeing support that will enable people to support themselves for up to 6 months, countering the risk that the pandemic will entrench inequality within the industry.

The new grant scheme is part of the Film and TV Charity’s Covid-19 Response, which has seen the charity rapidly mobilise to find new ways to support the industry community impacted by the shutdown of production and closure of cinemas across the UK.

To date the charity has raised more than £5.8m of ringfenced funding, launched a range of mental wellbeing services and provided critical ancillary services including financial guidance.
The charity needs to raise a further £900,000 to meet the costs of the Covid-19 Response and is inviting further donations to maximise the number of people the new fund will support.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said: “We know that diverse talent – including women, those who are Black Asian or minority ethnic, and those who are disabled – are now being disproportionately impacted by the crisis due to a range of factors. So we have a real concern that without urgent support we will lose these people from our industry.

"We’re incredibly grateful for the generous support of Amazon Prime Video, many BAFTA Members, BBC Studios, Sky Studios, Sony and ViacomCBS, as well as the generous individuals and enthusiastic efforts of people in the industry who have made this possible. We have a real opportunity to take action to support workers in greatest need now in order to protect the diversity of our industry for the future and I hope that others will seize this moment to donate to our Covid-19 Response.”

Georgia Brown, Director of European Originals, Amazon Studios, said: “We’re thrilled that Prime Video’s £1 million donation has enabled the Film and TV Charity to launch a new fund to further support for the UK’s production community, specifically offering support for our industry’s diverse talent pipeline. We know this help is much-needed right now as the UK creative industry rebuilds and productions tentatively re-start across the country, so we’re delighted to be supporting the Film and TV Charity in their continued efforts to attract more donations so that even more members of our creative community, especially those who’ve been disproportionately affected, can be supported.”

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive at BAFTA, said: “Now, more than ever, we must come together as an industry to support the talented individuals who are struggling and do all we can to safeguard a diverse creative workforce. I would like to say a huge thank you to the BAFTA Members and supporters who have generously donated to the Film and TV Charity’s Covid-19 Recovery Fund and who continue to support BAFTA’s own charitable mission. I would also like to applaud the Film and TV Charity for their ongoing work to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tom Fussell, interim CEO BBC Studios, said: "We need to safeguard talented workers in the industry. We fully support the vital work of the Film and TV Charity, which is why we're providing an additional donation that will give those that are most likely to be hit the hardest by the pandemic access to the help they need."

Gary Davey, CEO Sky Studios, said: “Throughout the pandemic, the Film and TV Charity has provided crucial support to individuals across our industry. We are pleased to support this new fund, that is designed to protect those most likely to suffer a negative impact on their career due to the effect of COVID-19 on the film and TV sector.”

Wayne Garvie, President, International Production, Sony Pictures Television, said: “The widespread support for this fund is a testament to how important it is for our industry to support our friends and colleagues who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. We fully support this initiative, and all the extremely vital work done by the Film and TV Charity.”

Maria Kyriacou, President, ViacomCBS Networks UK and Australia, said: “We are pleased to support the vital work done by the Film and TV Charity, in particular at this time of pressing need. The Covid-19 Recovery Fund is an important resource that will provide assistance to those in our industry most affected by the pandemic.”

More information and how to apply

The Covid-19 Recovery Fund will provide a package of financial and wellbeing support of up to £4,500 (£750 a month for 6 months), helping people to sustain themselves through and out of the crisis and maintain careers within the industry.

Eligible individuals must be UK resident or have the right to live and work in the UK; work in film, TV or cinema; have been in paid industry work for at least 40 days in the last 18 months; be in financial difficulty due to Covid-19; and have earnt less than £30,420 in the previous financial year (2019/20). The charity will adopt an assessment approach that will prioritise individuals based on need and financial resilience and will give special consideration to those with additional vulnerabilities that put them at greater personal and professional risk as a result of the pandemic.

Limited funding is available. If you’re ineligible for the fund, the charity may be able to support you in another way. Contact us by calling the Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 00 00.

The fund is now open for applications and will close at 5pm on Monday 12 October. You can apply here: COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

All of the Film and TV Charity’s services are funded by voluntary donations and the charity is actively fundraising to continue to provide these. Those interested in fundraising should contact the charity’s Head of Fundraising, Tom Woodward tom.woodward@filmtvcharity.org.uk.

Find out more about the Film and TV Charity at https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/why-we-exist/.