U.K.'s COVID-19 Film, TV Relief Fund Closes After Applications Top $6M

Alex Pumfrey - H - 2020
Credit: The Film and TV Charity

Film and TV Charity CEO Alex Pumfrey

With applications exceeding the fund's coffers, The Film and TV Charity has made an urgent appeal for more financial support, saying it can only "prioritize those most in need" at present.

The U.K.'s COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund, officially launched earlier this month by the British Film Institute and the Film and TV Charity, has now closed to applicants, with almost 3,000 people applying for more than £5 million ($6.2 million), exceeding its financial limitations. 

The fund, which was launched with an initial £3 million ($3.6 million) pot to distribute to industry creatives impacted by the crisis with grants of between $617 and $3,000 on offer, was opened for applicants for two weeks starting April 7, with the Film and TV Charity now processing the applications.  

However, it has warned that due to the high demand it will need to "prioritize those most in need" without further financial support, and has launched an urgent appeal for more donations.

"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," said 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."

Since the start of the crisis, the charity has also distributed $173,000 via their long-standing Hardship Fund to nearly 400 people with stop-gap grants of up to $617 to cover essential living costs such as food and bills. It has also seen a spike in demand for its mental health services, claiming that almost 1,800 people have contacted their support line over the past six weeks, five times higher than average.