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New support for creative sector during COVID-19 outbreak

Published: 27 Mar 2020

Covid-19 impact funds

Creative Scotland has launched three funding programmes designed to provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund to help sustain creative practice by freelance creative professionals who have lost earnings due to the cancelation of work as a result of COVID-19.
  • A parallel Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund provides similar one-off bursary support to self-employed screen sector workers
  • The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development provides support for individuals and organisations to sustain their creative development in the coming months.
  • Government support

    The Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland Bridging Bursaries will aim to support those most in need at this time, particularly those who are least likely to benefit from the recently announced Job Retention Scheme and Self Employment Income Support scheme.

    We advise everyone to check the most up-to-date information and advice from the UK Government on their support programmes for the self-employed and freelancers before making a request to this programme.

    The three new funds

    The Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund provides financial support for individual creative practitioners and/or freelancers who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work due to the COVID-19 emergency to sustain their creative practice in Scotland. The £4 million fund will offer one-off bursary payments of between £500 and £2,500 to help support the immediate needs.

    A £1.5million Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary programme will provide one-off bursaries of £500 to £2,500 to freelance PAYE and self-employed screen sector workers who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to loss of income as a result of the Covid-19.

    Update: The Bridging Bursary Funds are now closed. We are currently processing all requests and responding to all as soon as possible and within the four-week timeframe indicated.

    The Open Funding: Sustaining Creative Development (a revised approach to the organisation’s Open Project Fund) will support creative practitioners to continue to develop work. Applicants will be encouraged to use funding to explore how best to sustain their practice, and reimagine their work, during the current climate and in the months to come. Funds may also be used for the development and presentation of work. The £7.5m fund will support up to 12 months of activity with a maximum award of £50,000.

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

    “The impact of coronavirus is being felt everywhere. But the closure of cinemas, theatres, music venues and the many other places, combined with the high numbers of freelance and self-employed workers in the sector means the effects are particularly acute. It is vital we act now to help those whose income streams have been reduced to zero without warning. This new Bridging Bursaries Fund will support those workers through this unprecedented time.

    “To help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery the Scottish Government has announced a £2.2 billion package of support for businesses including a year of non-domestic rates relief and one-off grants. The recent announcement from the UK Government on support for those who are self-employed is welcome, and is particularly crucial to this sector, but June is simply too late and we will continue to press for more immediate support.

    “Along with Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland, we continue to work urgently to use existing and new funds to support the sector, including the £20 million Third Sector Resilience Fund for Scotland-based charities, social enterprises or voluntary organisation, or organisations delivering community services and activities. The National Performing Companies are making various arrangements to safeguard their staff, artists and creative personnel during the current pandemic.

    “I would encourage everyone to keep up to date with the latest information and support on the Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government websites. Scotland’s Culture Strategy makes it clear that the arts and creativity are essential to our wellbeing, and we are working to support activity that will help the people of Scotland through these difficult times.”

    Iain MunroChief ExecutiveCreative Scotland said: "These are extremely challenging times that have brought serious personal and professional impacts to artists, creative practitioners and organisations and the work they do with communities across Scotland.

    "At Creative Scotland our focus is to keep funding flowing. These funds direct our resources to those in need of immediate support and help to safeguard and sustain the sector and its work at this time.

    "When we all emerge from this crisis, it will undoubtedly be to a changed world, but one I hope where culture and creativity remain at the heart of the life of the nation."

    Media contacts

    Claire Thomson, Media & PR Officer, Creative Scotland
    E: claire.thomson@creativescotland.com
    M: +44 7747 606 146

    Eilidh Walker, Media Relations and PR Officer, Screen Scotland
    Eilidh.Walker@creativescotland.com
    M: +44 7545 402 064