News Category

Emergency Funding Information (Updated 16 June 2020)

by Rachael Burton and Adam Powell

Emergency funding information for freelancers and micro-companies in the creative and cultural sector in England.

The team at Bristol+Bath Creative R+D aims to keep the cluster informed and supported through the current upheaval and uncertainty. As we enter another month of lockdown, it is a challenge to navigate the bombardment of information for freelancers and small businesses.

To help businesses and individuals we have waded through the noise, creating a simple list of schemes aimed at helping creative and cultural workers in the short term, breaking them down by category. The list below has been carefully selected based on three criteria:

  • They provide funds;
  • Memberships are not required;
  • Aimed at primarily freelancers and micro-companies (0 - 10 employees)

If you’re not sure which government cash grants, loans or tax relief or other support for which you and your business is eligible, a new and easy-to-use Business Support Finder tool can helps you navigate this.


Re-opened (Bristol only): Small Business Discretionary Fund (Deadline: 12 July 2020)

Bristol City Council has re-opened it's Discretionary Fund for small businesses that haven't qualifies for previous grants, don't pay business rates and have suffered a 60% fall income. Deadline: 12 July 2020.


Support for businesses

Small Business Grant or Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant
Government taxable grants (£10,000 or £25,000) for eligible businesses paying business rates or in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). West of England-based businesses should apply via Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council or South Gloucestershire Council. Elsewhere, apply via your local council (application links available via this comprehensive list).

UK Government job retention scheme

Prince’s Trust and NatWest Young Enterprise Relief Fund
Grants and tailored support for entrepreneurs aged 18-30 to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments.

The Creative Growth Finance Debt Fund
A £24m fund from Creative England, in partnership with Triodos Bank UK, providing vital scale up finance to the UK’s most promising creative businesses (Eligibility criteria include minimum annual turnover of £600,000)

Bounce Back Loans
Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 for small and medium-sized businesses, with 100% government guarantee with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Business Interruption Loan

Support for individuals

Self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) - Amended eligibility criteria for new parents.
Taxable grants for eligible self-employed / freelancers of 80% of average monthly taxable profits (up to £2,500pcm), with three months payable in June 2020, backdated to March 2020, with an extension recently announced and further application round in August 2020.

Deferring income tax payments

Accessing Universal Credit

Charities and social enterprises:

Resilience & Recovery Loans Fund
Social Investment Business is offering loans between £100,000 and £500,000 for charities and social enterprises meeting certain criteria, including a minimum turnover of £400,000

Yapp Charitable Trust

Charities aid foundation:

Visual artists and arts managers

Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund (Opened 7 May 2020)
Emergency support grants (up to £2,500) to support artists, freelancers and creative practitioners in the visual arts sector in urgent need of financial support.

Support for artists, creative practitioners & freelancers (Closed)

Artists Relief Tree (waiting list for funding)

Outdoor Arts Sector Support Fund (Closed)


Musicians' Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund
Grants of £200 available to MU members with genuine and pressing hardship, musicians can apply for grants of £200.

Help Musicians Financial Hardship Fund (closed)

Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund

AIM crisis fund

PRS Emergency Relief Fund (closed)
Payments of up to £1000 to affected PRS-member songwriters and composers who are suffering genuine hardship due to loss of work, and meet PRS eligibility criteria.

Film & TV

Film and TV Charity Emergency Relief Fund (currently closed)
Film and TV Charity Repayable Grants Scheme for Freelancers (currently closed)

Free membership of PACT for independent production companies


Fleabag Support fund (2nd round to be announced soon)
Supports freelancers working in theatre, comedy & cabaret who are unable to work as a result of Covid-19.

Support for Theatre Professionals
A useful summary of support available


Heritage Emergency Fund
Grants of between £3,000 and £50,00 available across the heritage sector. Closing date for applications 30 June 2020.


Author’s Emergency Fund

Royal Literary Fund

In work support scheme
Newstraid offers welfare and financial support for those working in the newspaper and magazine sales and distribution industry.

Creative technology / Digital

Mozilla COVID 19 Solutions Fund

Other help and resources

#CovidCreatives Toolkit (Live Google Doc)

Free six-month membership of the Creative Industries Federation

Mentoring, advice and support for the film industry compiled by Screen

Additional funding opportunities

5G Create (DCMS)

We hope this list is helpful. If we're missing something relevant please do share and we will add it here. We are here to support the cluster across our two cities, please do reach out if you want to talk to us: