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Charity launches second phase of Covid-19 financial hardship funding

Help Musicians has announced a second wave of financial support for musicians ineligible for government emergency safety nets

Help Musicians has announced a second wave of financial support for musicians ineligible for government emergency safety nets or unable to survive on what they receive. 

The UK charity will open applications for its new financial hardship fund on 5 June 2020, targeting 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 and donations of £500k from music licensing company PPL and £50k from the Lightbody Foundation.

Grant payments will cover the period 1 June to 31 October, topping 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.

Most musicians are self-employed, and a recent survey carried out by the Help Musicians 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 funding round the charity’s first phase of financial hardship support which led to a total of £8.35m being distributed in just over 4 weeks to 16,700 musicians who required urgent financial assistance before to the government announced support schemes.

James Ainscough, Help Musicians Chief Executive, said:

‘Musicians have been hit brutally hard by the lockdown as the vast majority rely on income from performing, rehearsing, recording and teaching. And it looks like live music will be one of the last sectors of the economy to return to normal.

‘With the knowledge that so many musicians remain ineligible for government support, we have no option but to offer further financial help. Our second phase of financial hardship funding is therefore targeted to help those who fall through the gaps of the government emergency safety nets and will support musicians for the next five months. We anticipate this fund will receive thousands of applications and are ready to process the high volume in the coming weeks.’