A new funding scheme is being launched for Monmouthshire residents who work as freelance professionals in creative industries, such as the Arts, heritage, culture and media, who have found their income severely affected by the cancellation of contracts due to the pandemic. The scheme is part of a wider £53m Cultural Recovery Fund recently announced by Welsh Government. Monmouthshire County Council will be administering the ‘Freelancer Grant’, on behalf of Welsh Government, and applications for this new scheme will open from 5thOctober.
The one-off payments of £2,500 are available to those meeting the eligibility criteria, which includes being able to provide evidence of loss of income and subsequent financial challenges over the period spanning April 2020 and March 2021. Applicants must not already have been in receipt of any other Welsh Government grants or funding.
However, those who have received previous support from either the Government Job Retention Scheme and Self-employment Income Support Scheme and are experiencing financial challenges will still be eligible for this fund.
Also, freelancers may be eligible if employed part-time in another role, if this work is to supplement the income from their primary creative profession. Priority will be given to those most in need of support due to loss of earnings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councillor Paul Jordan, Cabinet Member for Theatre and MonLife, commented: “For freelance professional working in creative roles, such as photographers, television or film crew, theatre employees, actors and designers, the restrictions brought in as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic saw future contracts cancelled and their income disappear almost overnight. I am pleased that we are finally able to announce this scheme, which I hope will offer a lifeline to those who have not been eligible for other Welsh Government grants so far. The financial impact of the pandemic on the Arts and those who work within them is sadly all too evident. I hope that this funding will help as many people in those industries as possible. ”
The funding will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, providing eligibility criteria has been met. The Freelancer Grant will run over two short phases. Phase 1, opening on 5th October, will run for around one to two weeks, or until the quota of applications are received. Phase 2 will follow shortly after, once the initial applications are reviewed and the level of demand assessed against the available funding. All applications will close once the council’s grant allocation has been fully committed.
The first step in the application process is to complete the Culture Recovery Fund Eligibility Checker on the Business Wales websitehttps://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/culture. If eligible you will be directed to an online application form on Monmouthshire County Council’s website. For those without the facilities to apply online, paper forms can also be requested from the council.