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The Film and TV Charity’s Covid-19 relief fund runs dry after 3,000 applications

People in the UK film, TV and cinema industry have applied for more than £5m in grants.

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The Clapham Picturehouse in London remains closed (Adam Davy/PA)

The Clapham Picturehouse in London remains closed (Adam Davy/PA)

The Clapham Picturehouse in London remains closed (Adam Davy/PA)

The Film and TV Charity has said its Covid-19 emergency relief fund has already run dry after nearly 3,000 people applied for more than £5 million.

The charity has launched an urgent appeal for donations to help support people in the UK film, TV and cinema industry, particularly freelancers facing financial hardship through the coronavirus crisis.

Film and TV production shut down across the UK last month and cinemas closed, leaving thousands of people out of work.

The £3 million relief fund, set up in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), has been supported by donations from Netflix, the BFI, BBC Studios, BBC Content, WarnerMedia and others.

It fund will provide one-off grants from £500 to £2,500 to those struggling financially and will need to prioritise those most in need.

The charity has also distributed £140,000 to nearly 400 people since the start of the crisis via its long-standing hardship fund, providing stop-gap grants of up to £500 to cover essential living costs such as food and bills.

The charity has seen a five-times increase in demand for its mental health services, with almost 1,800 people contacting its free, 24-hour film and TV support line in the past six weeks.

It has said it is worried about the increased mental health risks during the pandemic, particularly for the freelance community who are not able to access company support structures, and has partnered with mental health charity Mind to create tailored advice for the film and TV industry to help with common mental health concerns, available online.

It has also set up new services available via the 24-hour support line, including one-to-one video therapy, online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and bereavement counselling.

People are out of work and desperately worried about their futureAlan Pumfrey, The Film and TV Charity

Alex Pumfrey, chief executive of The Film and TV Charity, said: “Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our industry.

“People are out of work and desperately worried about their future. The charity has been able to take urgent steps but the number of applications and calls for help demonstrate the extraordinary need for financial support for freelancers.

“We’re all part of a brilliant, successful and creative community that is now facing some of its toughest ever challenges. We’re hugely thankful to those who have already donated.

“We need to do more. We’re urging people to help us to reopen these funds and extend our services to reach more of the most vulnerable in our industry.”

PA