top of page

Arts Council England emergency funding for creatives during lockdown

Arts Council England has listed emergency funding schemes available for creatives during the Covid-19 crisis. Take a look at the support available to you.

1. Arts Impact Fund

This fund looks to invest in artistic, social and financial return in the arts sector. Arts Council England, are seeking organisations that have great artistic ambition and a positive impact on society.

About the investment

Repayable loan finance between £150,000 and £600,000 is available to arts organisations. Funding needs can vary - for instance, an applicant can use the money to buy or refurbish a building, purchase equipment, pay salaries or buy-in additional services to help the organisation generate more income.


To meet the eligibility criteria, you must be:

  • An organisation with primary activity in the arts

  • A regulated body with a charitable purpose

  • Registered as operating in England

  • working in at least one area of social need that the fund supports

How to apply

All applications to the Arts Impact Fund can be made through the fund’s website. The application for Arts Impact Fund is open and will stay open permanently.

2. National Heritage Lottery Fund  £50m has been made available for a Heritage Emergency Fund to support the UK heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The fund will open to organisations currently or previously supported by the Heritage Fund.

The Heritage Emergency Fund will be available as:

  • Short-term funding grants between £3,000 - £50,000 that organisations can access over the next three to six months to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks.

  • A select number of key strategic investments where heritage is idenified as at greatest risk. This could include grant increases to funded projects that are currently underway.


Applicants must be:  

  • A not-for-profit organisation

  • A current or previous recipient of a grant directly from the National Heritage Lottery Fund

  • An owner, manager or representative of heritage, or be able to show you have delivered participatory heritage activity 

How to apply

Applications will be accepted until 30 June 2020 and further information can be found here.

3. Art Fund

All Art Fund grant programmes are currently still open. Small Project Grants provide funding to help test new ways of working that will benefit audiences, whilst Network Grants provide funding to support professional networks, including SSNs, in sharing expertise and knowledge.

Eligibility and how to apply for this programme, click here.

4. Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund 

Having received a £1m donation from Netflix, the BFI and The Film and TV Charity have initiated an Emergency Relief Fund to support workers across the UK’s film and TV industry.

Eligibility  The fund is open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. 

How to apply

5. Directors Charitable Foundation 

Directors Charitable Foundation is designed to offer short-term support.


Key aspects:

  • All theatrical and screen directors in any medium qualify for consideration

  • Applicants must be a UK citizen or a UK resident

  • Beneficiaries of deceased Directors may also apply

Full guidance can be found here.

How to apply

For application form click here. 

6. Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund/a-n Artist Information Company

This new fund supports grants of £1500 to £2500 to artists and freelance creative practitioners based in England and Northern Ireland. This fund for those working in the visual arts and whom are experiencing severe financial hardship, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications are accepted until Thursday 18th June 2020 and decisions will be made on a weekly basis. Once registered you will be informed of decisions approximately two weeks after submitting their application.

How to apply

For further information on eligibility and how to apply click here.

7. Musicians' Union (MU) hardship Fund

Musicians' Union £1m hardship fund is to provide immediate, urgent relief for musicians facing financial hardship right now. The fund is only applicable for members currently paying the full MU membership subscription rate.


  • Be currently paying the full MU membership subscription rate or joint MU / NEU membership subscription rate (either in full or by Direct Debit)

  • Be a UK resident

  • Be suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic

  • Have not already successfully received a payment from the MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund

How to apply

Applications are made through Musicians’ Union website.

8. The Actors’ Benevolent Fund

This fund is taken on applicants from professional actors, actresses and stage managers who have contracted Covid-19, or who are self-isolating because they are unwell.


  • Have contracted Covid-19, or are self-isolating because you are unwell with coronavirus symptoms,

  •  Applied for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance (or, are already in receipt of any means-tested benefits).

How to apply:

Visit the Actors' Benevolent Fund website.

9. The Royal Theatrical Fund

The Royal Theatrical Fund provides support for people of all ages who have worked in the entertainment industry. Those seeking help and meet the Fund’s criteria will be asked to claim all benefits and grants that the Government have put in place. 

How to apply:

Further information on eligibility and how to apply for this fund, click here.

10. The Royal Variety Charity 

The Royal Variety Charity works to support and assist all those who have worked professionally in the entertainment industries, both young and old. 

How to apply

Further more information click here.

11. Theatre, Orchestra and Museums & Galleries Tax Relief

Tax relief schemes mentioned by Arts Council England, are provided to Theatre, Orchestra and Museums & galleries that have been abandoned at any point during production phases.

To read more about the schemes available and eligibility, click here.

Source: Arts Council England


bottom of page