Coronavirus: Support for artists and creatives

Some advice and information on support for artists and creatives affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Scotland

Feature by Peter Simpson | 16 Mar 2020
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If you're feeling unwell, particularly if you have a cough or fever, you're advised to stay at home for at least seven days or until your symptoms go away. Let your friends and family know how you are, and stay in contact with those around you via phone/email/social media. If your symptoms get worse or develop to the point that you can't manage them at home, contact the NHS on 111. Look out for yourselves and each other. [Updated on 3 Apr]

Emergency Art Workers Support Fund

Visual Arts Scotland's new fund offers grants of £250 to artists and freelancers facing immediate hardship due to their planned work being cancelled amid the pandemic. More details and the application form can be found here.

Creative Scotland / Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary

Two funds have been launched to support freelancers and workers in the arts and film industries who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. They're non-competitive, can award grants of between £500 and £2,500 – the fund has been inundated with requests, but it will reopen shortly. Details here. 

PRS Emergency Relief Fund

Good news for musicians, songwriters and music publishers. PRS have launched a new fund to provide support to members. "The new fund is open to all PRS members around the world who have been a member for at least two years and earned over £500 in the last two years. Grants will be awarded based on assessment of individual need and applicants will receive support up to a value of £1000."

Third Sector Resilience Fund

Work at a charitable org or social enterprise? The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. It will provide grants and zero-interest loans to help those groups keep going.

Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund

The BFI and the Film & TV charity have launched an emergency relief fund for workers and freelancers affected by the coronavirus' impact on the screen industries. Per the BFI website: "The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding but the fund will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition."

Help Musicians

Help Musicians have launched a £5m Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, offering grants of up to £500 for professional musicians and those working in music-related professions. Full eligibility details and the application form can be found online. The musicians' charity have also put together a guide to what else they can offer.  


We know that a lot of you who read The Skinny are self-employed or freelance, and it's genuinely difficult to find accurate up-to-date information on what to do. We'd like to flag up this guide from Leapers, which we spotted via Creative Edinburgh. It's full of practical tips on keeping your freelance work going during a period of uncertainty and major change in working patterns. Stay in touch with your various colleagues and workplaces, and keep your lines of communication open.

COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources is a compilation of resources and websites that covers most areas of the creative industries (scroll down to International Resources (outside the United States) for the UK-relevant material).

Creative Scotland funding

Creative Scotland are honouring all funding awards they've already made, whether or not the activity goes ahead or has to be rescheduled or cancelled. They are asking people working on Creative Scotland-funded projects to look into whether their plans can be delayed until later in the year.

If you have a Creative Scotland application in for assessment, it's being processed as normal. If you're successful, you'll be asked for updated plans on how you'll carry out the project in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you're planning a Creative Scotland application, CS ask that you make sure that what you have planned doesn't conflict with Scottish Government guidelines on coronavirus.

Creative Scotland have also revealed that they will make changes to their Open Project Funding to reduce timescales and admin – some details are here, but they'll be revealing the full details a week on Friday (27 March).

Scottish Enterprise small business helpline

Scottish Enterprise have launched a new helpline for Scottish businesses specifically for COVID-19-related advice, which could prove handy if you run a small business or are self-employed. It will be open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm; the helpline number is 0300 303 0660. 

Petition for assistance for the events industry

There's a petition up on the UK Parliament website calling for specific assistance for people who work in the events industry who've been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Read and sign it here.

Musicians' Union updates on COVID-19

The MU are offering regular email updates with information and support for musicians – sign up here.