The UK’s COVID-19 Film & TV Emergency Relief Fund has maxed out its initial pot of grant funding after receiving $6.2M (£5M) in applications since it opened on April 15.
The Film and TV Charity, which is overseeing the fund, said close to 3,000 people had applied for relief and that it had now exceed its initial limits, which was around $3.5M (£3M).
The fund will provide one-off grants of between £500 ($620) and £2,500 ($3,100) to active workers in film, TV and cinema facing significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
The charity will now begin processing applications but warned that it will need to prioritize those most in need until it receives further donations.
Today, the org is launching an urgent appeal for more backing to bolster the pot.
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Significant donators to the initial fund included Netflix, BBC Studios, BBC Content, WarnerMedia, the BFI and Sky.
The charity said it had also handed out £140,000 ($173,000) via its long-standing Hardship Fund to nearly 400 people with stop-gap grants of up to £500 ($620) to cover essential living costs such as food and bills.
It added that it has received 1,800 contacts through its 24-hour support line in the past six weeks, five times higher than average.
“Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our industry. People are out of work and desperately worried about their future. The charity has been able to take urgent steps but the number of applications and calls for help demonstrate the extraordinary need for financial support for freelancers,” commented Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity.
“We’re all part of a brilliant, successful and creative community that is now facing some of its toughest ever challenges. We’re hugely thankful to those who have already donated.”
We need to do more. We’re urging people to help us to re-open these funds and extend our services to reach more of the most vulnerable in our industry.”
Similar relief funds for film and TV workers have also been set up around the world, including in France and India.
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