The BBC will donate £700,000 ($856,000) to the U.K.’s Film and TV Charity in support of coronavirus relief.
The donation is aimed at those out of work because of halted production caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on freelance workers.
Around £500,000 ($611,000) will go to the London-based charity’s new Film and TV COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, in partnership with the British Film Institute, that was set up earlier this week with a £1 million ($1.2 million) donation from Netflix.
A further £200,000 ($244,000) will go towards the charity’s two-year mental health action plan, known as the Whole Picture Programme, to address the widespread issues found in research released by the charity earlier this year.
The BBC has also joined the industry-led Film and TV Taskforce on Mental Health.
The funds will be drawn from the BBC’s commercial production and distribution arm, BBC Studios, with contributions from public service commissioning teams, including BBC Content.
Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, said: “Freelancers are the lifeblood of our industry, keeping our shows creatively brilliant for all audiences. At times like these it is critical we stand by them.”
Those in immediate need of funds can apply for support via The Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, that offers grants of up to £500 ($610) to provide stop-gap support.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said: “Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on the thousands of talented and brilliant people who work in our TV industry. For so many, their livelihoods have disappeared overnight. The financial losses are accompanied by serious mental health concerns as we enter a period of isolation and joblessness.
“This exceptional commitment by the BBC to support the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for workers, and also the Whole Picture Programme for better mental health in TV, will help us to provide the urgent support that is so desperately needed.”
Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Studios, said: “This is a critical time for our industry, and we want to do all we can to support the talented and hard-working individuals who are so essential to our sector.”
Eligibility criteria and the level of funding will be revealed soon.
On Thursday, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak revealed economic measures to help freelancers out of work due to the pandemic.