Manchester City Council and HOME announce new major fund for freelancers working in the Arts and Culture sector

Manchester City Council, with industry partners HOME, have announced a £500,000 hardship fund for freelancers working in Manchester, made possible by a generous gift from the Savannah Wisdom Foundation.

Applications are now open, and the application form can be found here.

The fund is part of ongoing efforts to support the freelance population of Manchester’s vibrant arts and culture sector, and to prevent the loss of a generation of talented artists and creative practitioners.

The Savannah Wisdom Foundation has created a discretionary fund to support freelancers working in the creative and cultural sectors who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The charity is making up to £500,000 available in grants of £1,500 to individual freelancers.

The fund is designed to assist those whose freelance work has been lost or disrupted because of COVID-19 and who are experiencing hardship because of:

  • Reduced demand for, or capacity to deliver, their services
  • The part of the sector they work in is temporarily unable to trade (due to local/national lockdown measures, social distancing requirements or loss of trade)

The fund is specifically aimed towards those who were ineligible for, or have been unsuccessful in applying for the Government Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

Jon Gilchrist, Executive Director at HOME, said: “Cultural organisations across the city have been working together to support all areas of the cultural sector devastated by this pandemic. Freelancers are without doubt the most affected with many slipping through gaps in funding schemes. With this further lockdown, we risk losing an entire generation of talented artists and creative practitioners if we don’t act now. Thanks to this incredible gift, some of the people at the greatest risk of financial hardship will get some additional support.

“HOME are proud to be the industry partners for this scheme, and will continue to work tirelessly in support of the artistic community in Manchester to ensure the cultural recovery in Manchester sees us bounce back better than ever.”

The fund is announced today and will open on Mon 1 Feb at 9am. Applications should be made via a dedicated webpage on the Manchester City Council site, which can be found here. Applications will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis, so we recommend preparing all documentation and applying as early as you can.

For more information about eligibility, or about how to apply for the fund, check the FAQs here. We also have a dedicated support team to help if you want to get in touch, you can email or call 0161 523 0444 Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.