The charity behind an emergency relief fund established to support the U.K.’s showbiz community in the wake of Covid-19 is “urgently appealing for donations” after its coffers were left empty.
Britain’s Film and TV Charity is to re-open the Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund, revealing that nearly 3,000 people have applied for more than £5 million ($6.17 million), exceeding the limits of the fund.
The fund will provide one-off grants from £500 ($617) to £2,500 ($3,085) 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 warns that it will need to prioritize those most in need without further donations. Netflix, BBC, BFI, Sky, WarnerMedia and several individuals are among those who previously donated funds.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said: “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.
“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.”
Since the start of the crisis, the charity has also distributed £140,000 ($173,000) via their long-standing Hardship Fund to nearly 400 people with stop-gap grants of up to £500 ($617) to cover essential living costs such as food and bills.
The charity has seen an increase in demand for their mental health services. Almost 1,800 people have contacted their free, 24-hour Film and TV Support Line in the past six weeks, five times higher than average.
Resource from across the charity has been channelled into supporting the film and TV community during the crisis, seconding staff and redirecting existing funds into the Covid-19 response.