Freelance Hardship Fund Details Published

Oct 22 2020 | By More

How to apply for the CS £5m emergency fund

Creative Scotland has published details of who is eligible for the £5m Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers and how to apply when it goes live on Monday 26 October 2020 at noon.

The fund is open to those in “immediate difficulty” – not able to meet essential costs at the present – and will provide a bursary of between £500 and £2,000. It is not competitive, but will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The criteria for the fund is to: “support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Further: “The funds offer a one-off monetary contribution to those who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the emergency situation.”

Creative Scotland adds: “In this unprecedented moment, where individuals are experiencing a range of financial challenges, we are not being prescriptive about how you use the funds. They are to help you meet essential costs at the present time and sustain yourself as an artist or creative practitioner.”

All applicants must register through the Creative Scotland online application portal link, available on the fund’s webpage (here) from noon on Monday 26 October 2020. They will choose a relevant job from a drop-down list of eligible roles.

partner organisations

Applicants will be given a unique code and told whether to continue the application through one of the five partner organisations (listed below) or through Creative Scotland.

Those applying through Creative Scotland will asked to provide a CV and details of professional referee – someone who is in an appropriate position to verify that the applicant is a professional freelance artist or creative practitioner.

The fund is open to freelance professionals whose work either has direct creative outcomes or directly supports the making and presentation of creative work including events. They must make most of their money from this work.

“Direct creative outcomes” includes: a visual artist; a writer or maker of poetry, prose or fiction; a playwright, actor or theatre-maker; a comedian, dancer, musician, craft maker or designer.

“Directly supports the making and presentation of creative work including events” includes: a theatre producer, a lighting designer, a gig promoter, an independent curator or creative producer.

Creative Scotland is clear that both lists are indicative rather than exhaustive and other creative freelancers will be able to apply.

However, the fund is not open to those “deriving the majority of their income from client-led work” (such as freelance journalists), those working in the screen and photography sector (who were covered in the Screen Scotland fund), or those who have received support under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to a total that is more than the UK living wage.

total budget

The total budget for the Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is £5m. The Screen Sector fund has already used £700k. Creative Scotland says that the remaining £4.3m budget is divided between the partner organisations in the following way:
• Help Musicians (creative roles in music): £1.1m allocated
• Society of Authors (creative roles in literature and a number of roles in comedy and audio): £590k
• Crafts Council in partnership with Craft Scotland (roles in craft):
• Visual Arts Scotland (creative roles in visual arts): £440k
• BECTU (cross-sector technical and production roles): £410k
• Creative Scotland (covering all other areas not covered by partners): £1.32m

Creative Scotland says that it aims to ensure that all bursaries are paid within six weeks of application.

Links and downloads:

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers web page: here on
Hardship Fun FAQs: Open in new tab here.
Hardship Fund Guidance Brochure: Open in new tab here.


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