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Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

Hardship Funds for Creative Freelancers

Fund is now open

The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers has reopened from Tuesday 10 November.

The Screen Hardship Fund has also reopened from Wednesday 2 December.

We welcomed the announcement by the Culture Secretary of a further £3m for the Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers. This is a much needed additional investment in support for creative freelancers given the extraordinary demand we experienced during the first round of the Fund. The £3m will be added to the remaining £2m ahead of the Fund re-opening for application at noon on 10 November.

What is this fund for?

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.

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.

We will trust that those who request these funds are in need of emergency funding at this time. We strongly encourage people to fully consider their needs before making a request to this programme. Funds are finite and we and our partners expect a high level of demand. It is vital that we are able to support those who have the most urgent needs at this time.

Whilst there are no deadlines for this programme, the nature of this fund is that it will only remain open whilst budget remains available. We realise however that not everyone will be able to respond to this opportunity immediately, and therefore we and our partners will hold back a proportion of the budget so that we can support requests that take a little more time to reach us. But we do suggest you apply as soon as possible.

What is the overall budget for these funds and how much can I apply for?

There is £8m allocated towards this programme in total. Approximately £3m has been allocated during the first round of applications to both this fund and the Screen Scotland Hardship Fund. The remaining budget will be allocated through a second round of funding.

Please note that you can only apply once to this fund. Please do not apply more than once using multiple email addresses.

Who can apply?

These funds are to support freelance creative professionals working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

These roles include those whose work has direct creative outcomes as well as those in supporting roles whose work directly supports the making and presentation of creative work.

All applicants must be based in Scotland and must be able to demonstrate they were working and making income as a freelance creative professional before lockdown began (in March 2020).

The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is open to:

  • Freelance professionals whose work has direct creative outcomes. This can include (but is not limited to) 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. You will derive a significant proportion of your income from your role in creating or producing original artistic, creative or design material.
  • Freelance professionals whose work directly supports the making and presentation of creative work including events. This can include (but is not limited to) a theatre producer, a lighting designer, a gig promoter, an independent curator or creative producer. You will derive a significant proportion of your income from your role in supporting or producing original artistic, creative or design material and events.

Who cannot apply?

The following are not eligible to apply to this fund:

  • Those deriving the majority of their income from client-led work – for example in advertising, architecture, software/electronic publishing and from technical areas of writing and publishing such as news journalism, educational, technical, academic and professional writing
  • Those working in the screen and photography sector (as they are covered by the Screen Scotland Hardship Fund)
  • Those working in the heritage sector including interpretation consultants, designers and tour guides
  • Those who cannot demonstrate a freelance professional creative practice
  • Those currently working in paid full-time employment
  • Individuals based outside Scotland
  • Those who are currently furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and are receiving 80% or more of their full-time salary.
  • Self-employed individuals (or members of a partnership) who have received support under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) equivalent to, or in excess of the UK living wage, pro rata, since 1 April 2020 (we calculate this as £10,114).
  • Anyone studying either full-time, or as part of a long term, formal or accredited programme at college or university (at the time of application) including PhD students
  • Academics or other education professionals not in freelance positions

What is the deadline for applications?

The funds do not have a published deadline – but will only remain open for as long as the funds are available with each of the partners. We therefore encourage applicants to apply as early as possible.

Our online application portal – which requires all applicants to register first with Creative Scotland - will enable us to record the overall volume of requests and monitor demands on the fund as applicants register.

We plan to briefly pause applications to allow for those who need additional support and time to apply. When this happens we will communicate with registered applicants and let them know when the fund will reopen.

How does the application process work?

We've created this video walk through of the application process. We also have a step by step guide to support you through the process.

To apply, you will need to do the following:

  1. All applicants must firstly register on the Creative Scotland online application portal.
  2. We will ask you to set up a temporary application account – which you do by simply providing us with your name and email address and creating a secure password.
  3. We will ask you to verify your email address (by emailing you confirmation that you want to set up the account) and once this is done, you can log in and begin.
  4. Once logged in, we will ask for your name and contact details. We will also ask you to select what you do (ie what is your freelance role presently) from a drop-down list of eligible roles.
  5. Based on what you tell us, you will be given a Unique Reference Number and told which of the funding partners you should complete your application with (ROUTE A), or you will progress directly through Creative Scotland’s process (ROUTE B).

ROUTE A: Applying to one of the partner hardship funds

If your role is supported by one of our partners, we will give you the link to their fund and will ask you to complete your application with them. Please note - you will be required to submit the Unique Reference Number when you apply to the fund. Please don’t attempt to apply direct to one of the partner funds without having first set up your account with us and received your Unique Reference Number.

ROUTE B: Direct support from Creative Scotland

For eligible freelancers whose roles are not supported by any of the partner hardship funds

If your role is supported by Creative Scotland, you will be able to continue on our application portal and complete and submit your application through our system. Please see P9 of the guidance document for more details on how to do this.

How long will it take to get a decision?

The funds are offered on a non-competitive basis and require you to submit minimal information to enable us to make awards as quickly as possible. We will aim to ensure that all eligible recipients will receive money in their account within 6 weeks of submission of your request. If there are any delays to this, we’ll let you know.


Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers Guidance

View and download the Guidance document in PDF format

Hardship Fund Frequently Asked Questions

View and download the FAQs in PDF format

Hardship Fund Roles

View and download the list of roles in PDF format

Hardship Fund Application Process Guide

View and download the guide in PDF format

How to find out more information

If you need more information please contact our Enquiries Service using one of the methods outlined on our Contact Us page.