A £5m hardship fund set up to offer support to musicians struggling financially due to Coronavirus has run out in a matter of days, according to the charity that set it up.
The fund – created by Help Musicians and launched on 25 March – is in the process of arranging one off payments of £500 to 10,000 musicians across the UK in order to help them with household expenses and other living costs.
The fund provides immediate financial help for those in need, but £500 is not sufficient for the 2-3 months wait until the government’s support package will be paid. What’s more, unprecedented demand means the fund is set to run dry, just a few days after it was set up.
In fact, demand is so high that the charity received approximately one months’ worth of enquiries from musicians asking for help in just one day.
In all tens of thousands of musicians have had their income wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a very large proportion of musicians are self-employed, they won’t be able to access help from the government for many weeks, so extra assistance is vital to ensure their livelihoods aren’t threatened.
Help Musicians’ Chief Executive James Ainscough commented: “We are delighted to be able to help out 10,000 musicians during this difficult time, but the reality of the situation is that many more need help, and the funds have run dry.
“Not only do thousands more need assistance, but the £500 grants we have been able to provide will not last the 2-3 month gap until they receive government support. Not only do we need more donations to help us provide immediate hardship relief, the government must act with urgency if musicians are to have any hope of surviving financially over the next few months.
“The UK is a nation of music lovers and we are seeing online and from balcony to balcony, how music can connect the isolated and lift the spirits of a nation. As hard as it is for many at this time, we need to ask those who can afford it to help by donating, because the bottom line is that musicians need vital financial assistance.”
The fund is helping those who work across the music industry, including performers, creators, writers, composers and others in a role requiring a high level of musical skill. The fund is open to all musicians – Help Musicians is not a membership-based organisation.
Every penny donated to Help Musicians goes straight to the frontline without any deduction to cover its operating costs or overheads.
It comes at a time when major charities are reporting an increase in demand, but a drop in income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Charities say their very existence is being challenged at a time when their services are needed more than ever.
The government is being urged to recognise the role charities are playing – including Help Musicians – to help tackle the devastating impact of the virus.
The charity is playing a vital role in supporting the music industry though this tough time – it has created a system that can process over a thousand payments per day and is aiming to get money into musicians’ bank accounts within days of them making a request.
Those able to make a donation can do so at www.helpmusicians.org.uk