New Manchester hardship fund grants for local creative freelances


A new hardship fund created by two Manchester charities will offer grants of £1,500 to over 330 of the area’s freelance creative artists.

The fund has been launched by Manchester-based charity The Savannah Wisdom Foundation and the B&M retail chain and is aimed specifically at freelance workers in the city’s coronavirus-hit creative and culture sector.

The charities have created the Cultural Sector Hardship Fund for Freelancers to support those in that sector who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Applications for support are open to all Manchester residents usually employed as freelances in the creative and cultural sectors, from music and theatre to dance, visual arts, literature, creative industries and heritage culture.

The grants will help those whose freelance work has been lost or disrupted because of the pandemic and who have dropped through the cracks of government schemes.

Theatres, libraries, museums, and arts centres were among the first to be forced to close last March, and for many this signalled an end to a regular income.

Manchester City Council will administer the scheme on behalf of the charities and will help in the application and decision-making process.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, executive member for culture for Manchester City Council, said: "Our unrivalled arts and culture scene is what makes Manchester such a great vibrant place. This scene would be nothing without the community of talented individuals - usually freelancers - who make all the magic on stage and in cultural venues happen.

"They’re the reason this valuable part of our local economy exists. It's fantastic to be able to announce this new cash help."

The hardship fund opens to applicants on February 1 and will be applied first-come, first-served from the date of receipt. Application information can be obtained here.

Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of their professional work in the sector, including the names of referees who can support their application. Grant payments will be at the sole discretion of the charities involved.

Additional support for grant applications can be sought from HOME Manchester, whose staff will provide a telephone helpline service for freelancers’ questions about the scheme or application process on 0161 523 0444 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). HOME can also help by email here.