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Help Musicians calls for donations after huge demand for latest COVID-19 support scheme

By | Published on Wednesday 10 June 2020

Help Musicians

Music charity Help Musicians has put out a call for new donations, after its second programme providing financial support for musicians affected by the COVID-19 shutdown has come close to running out of funds within days of being launched. Applications for the £2.55 million fund opened on Friday and the charity had received over 3500 applications by Monday morning.

Help Musicians launched an initial £5 million fund in March, offering £500 grants to musicians in need, which was exhausted within four weeks – despite donations from other music companies and organisations pushing the total amount available up to more than £8 million.

The second phase of COVID-19 support was announced in May, with a smaller pool of cash and tighter restrictions on who could apply for it. That had a capacity to help 3400 musicians. Which means if the vast majority of the 3500 who have already applied meet eligibility criteria, there will already be a shortfall in funds.

“Whilst lockdown restrictions are slowly starting to lift, musicians will continue to be among some of the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the months to come”, says Help Musicians CEO James Ainscough.

“Live music will surely be one of the last sectors to start operating as normal and so many musicians just don’t know how they will survive. And as the country sees more and more redundancies, there are fewer opportunities for musicians to take temporary jobs to make ends meet. We therefore decided that urgent action was needed to offer extra financial help – too many musicians are simply falling through the gaps of the support available”.

“This is why continued support is more vital than ever”, he goes on. “As such, we are asking individuals, corporate organisations and other bodies to donate, no matter how large or small, so that we can continue to help as many musicians as possible and ease the pressure until they can get back to work”.

This second phase is targeted at self-employed musicians who do not qualify for the UK government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – which is possibly as many as 25% of all self-employed musicians – and other unemployed music-makers who are experiencing significant financial hardship.

For more information on how to donate to the fund, go here.