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A £2.55m hardship fund that launched on Friday to help musicians that are struggling financially during the Covid-19 pandemic is already in danger of reaching capacity. The charity Help Musicians, who set up the fund, says that as of this morning over 3500 had been received and more funding is required in order to support all those in need, and is still urging any struggling musicians who haven’t signed up to do so before it runs out entirely.
The charity launched the second phase of the hardship fund after it became clear that many musicians did not qualify for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – something it has not changed despite strong and sustained pressure from the industry. As such, many musicians have fallen through the gaps of the Government’s emergency safety nets and have been left with nothing but Universal Credit to survive on.
It follows Help Musician’s first £5m Covid-19 fund, which it launched on 25 March – just two days after lockdown was announced by the UK Government to provide immediate financial relief. The £5m ran out in a matter of days but the charity was able to make further donations to musicians over the course of the following month through generous additional donations, taking the total donated to £8.35m to 16,700 musicians in four weeks.
Aston spoke to Graham Sheffield, chairman at Help Musicians to discuss the research and also the impact on what lockdown is having on self employed musicians.