£2.5m Musicians Fund Runs Out Of Cash

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£2.5m Musicians Fund Runs Out Of Cash

A £2.5m fund set up to help musicians during the coronavirus crisis is set to run out of cash after just five days.

More than 3,500 people have applied for financial assistance since Friday, says the charity Help Musicians UK.

But with the fund reaching capacity, and live music a distant prospect, other applicants may be left stranded.

“It’s a bigger, longer crisis than any of us could have thought possible,” said the charity’s chief executive, Jack Ainscough.

Touring and gigging musicians have been particularly affected by the lockdown, as months of work simply vanished in mid-March.

Many of them (up to 25%) are not covered by the government’s scheme to support freelancers, and have no other source of income during the lockdown.

‘It’s really grisly’

The current Help Musicians fund is targeted at those self-employed workers, following a first phase in March that offered one-off grants of £500 to any musician facing immediate financial difficulties.

That scheme handed out over £8m to nearly 17,000 musicians in just four weeks, including The Waterboys’ drummer Ralph Salmins.

“My work is not coming back till March or April next year,” he told the BBC. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

https://www.bbc.com

The musician, who has performed or recorded with Paul McCartney, Bjork, Aretha Franklin and Madonna, as well as appearing on more than 150 film soundtracks, said the industry could be facing “a two-year lull” before returning to normal.

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A study conducted by Help Musicians found that 99% of musicians had worried about their financial situation during lockdown, while 46% said the impact on their wellbeing had been “strong or severe”.

“One of the points for us, is that financial hardship funding isn’t just about financial hardship,” Mr Ainscough explained. “It’s actually about reducing anxiety, which reduces the likelihood of tripping into more serious mental health issues.

“It’s about stopping someone becoming homeless, stopping somebody from having to go couch-surfing, and keeping them in a state where actually they’ve got a hope of remaining creative.”

£2.5m Musicians Fund Runs Out Of Cash

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