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Publication of Funding Guidance for Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

Applications invited from: 12noon, Monday 26 October 2020

Funding Guidance for the Scottish Government’s £5million Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers through Creative Scotland has been published today and is available to access on the Hardship Fund page.

Applications are invited from 12noon, Monday 26 October to creative freelancers working in the arts and creative sector who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the fund is open to:

  • Freelance professionals whose work has direct creative outcomes. This can include (but is not limited to) a visual artist, a writer or maker of poetry, prose or fiction, a playwright, actor or theatre-maker, a comedian, dancer, musician, craft maker or designer. You will derive a significant proportion of your income from your role in creating or producing original artistic, creative or design material.
  • Freelance professionals whose work directly supports the making and presentation of creative work including events. This can include (but is not limited to) a theatre producer, a lighting designer, a gig promoter, an independent curator or creative producer. You will derive a significant proportion of your income from your role in supporting or producing original artistic, creative or design material and events.
  • The one-off awards of between £500 and £2000 will be delivered through a range of partners who are operating existing hardship funds, alongside direct support from Creative Scotland for eligible freelancers whose roles are not supported by external funds. The external partners are: BECTU, Crafts Council & Craft Scotland, Help Musicians, Society of Authors and Visual Arts Scotland.
  • Awards are non-competitive and will be administered through a simple and speedy process.  Applications will open through our online portal from 12 noon on Monday 26 October 2020. All applicants will register on the Creative Scotland site before being channelled to the relevant funding partner to complete their application.

The Hardship Fund has no formal deadline and will remain open until funds have been allocated.  It is anticipated that applications will be paused before the fund has been fully allocated to allow those who may need additional support to apply, to access the fund.

We aim to ensure that all eligible recipients will receive money in their account within 6 weeks of submission of a request.

The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is one of a series of Scottish Government emergency funds for creativity and culture being administered through Creative Scotland.

These funds have been put in place to help mitigate the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on the creative and cultural sector. There are five new emergency funds which were announced by the First Minister on Friday 28 August and which are being delivered through Creative Scotland as follows:

  • £15million Culture Organisation and Venues Recovery Fund which opened for applications on Thursday 17 September with a deadline of Thursday 24 September. 348 applications have been received totalling over £22million. Application assessments are now taking place and decisions will be communicated early November.
  • £5million Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers, for which an open call for partner organisations to help us distribute this fund was launched on Friday 11 September, with a deadline of Friday 25 September. 18 Expressions of Interest were received with partner organisations now selected. The £700K Screen element of these Hardship Funds opened for applications on Tuesday 22 September and closed on Friday 2 October. Assessments are taking place and decisions are being communicated to applicants.
  • £3.5million Independent Cinemas Recovery and Resilience Fund, which opened for applications on Monday 14 September with a deadline of Monday 5 October. 27 applications have been received totalling £3.55million. Assessments are taking place and decisions will be announced at the end of October/beginning November.
  • £3.5million additional funds for Creative Scotland’s Open Fund which is open for applications to individuals and organisations now. The application threshold has recently been increased from £50K to £100K.
  • £3million Youth Arts funding package comprises of at least £1.2million through the Access to Youth Arts Fund which will be open to applications until Thursday 12 November; the £700,000 Small Grants Scheme which launched onThursday 24 September and will be open to applications until Monday 2 November; £50,000 assigned to the Time to Shine Nurturing Talent Fund, and an additional £1,050K allocated to support a number of targeted national and local area youth music and wider youth arts organisations. Assessments of applications to the targeted strand of the fund are underway and decisions will be communicated on Thursday 5 November.
  • £1.5million for the Culture Collective programme (part of the £5million Sustaining Creative Practice Fund, referred to in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government), supporting organisations employing freelance artists to work in and with communities across Scotland. The programme is due to launch in early November.

Previously announced funds from the Scottish Government are:

Updates on all emergency funds are being published regularly on this website and publicised through media and social media communications.


Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

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