COVID-19: Funds for musicians Jump to main content

COVID-19: Funds for musicians

This page provides information on the organisations and charities who have set up emergency funding to assist the music, creative and entertainment sectors.

This page will be updated when further advice or information is released. It was last updated on 28 June 2021.

ISM Members Fund

The ISM Members Fund made £200,000 of hardship funding available to ISM members who have experienced acute financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund has now closed.

AIM (Association of Independent Music)

Applications to the COVID-19 Support Fund are currently paused. Further information can be found on the AIM website.

Arts Council England

Applications to the emergency funding package for individual is now closed. Further information about Arts Council England (ACE) can be found on the ACE website.

Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Further information about Arts Council of Northern Ireland funding can be found here.

Arts Council of Wales

Applications for funding to support individuals is now closed. Further information about Arts Council of Wales can be found here.

Continuo Foundation

Grants are available to help ensembles proceed with artistic projects and to engage musicians despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 restrictions.

Eligibility Criteria

Grants are available to secure performance activity for musicians and your proposal should set out how this can be achieved. The Trustees of the Continuo Foundation will make the final decision as to which proposals are awarded the grant.

What help will I receive?

You can request an amount ranging from £1,000 to £10,000 for projects that are scheduled to take place in the UK before the end of September 2021.

How do I apply?

Applications are open until 23 February 2021. Visit the Continuo Foundation website for more information.

Creative Scotland Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

Creative Scotland's Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is still available.

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

The fund supports creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be found on the Creative Scotland website.

Eligibility Criteria

To receive funding you must be a freelance creative professional working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland. And you must be able to demonstrate that you were working and making income before lockdown began in March 2020.

What help will I receive?

£5 million has been allocated to this fund and you can request bursaries of £500 to £2,000. If you have specific access needs, then you may request more than this.

How do I apply?

Visit the Creative Scotland website to apply. At present there is no published deadline.

Creative Scotland Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development

Creative Scotland launched three funding programmes designed to sustain the country’s freelance creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development is still open.

Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development

Funding is available to individuals and organisations to help explore ways of working that will enable you to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances.

More information can be found on the Creative Scotland website.

Eligibility Criteria

Freelance and self-employed artists and creative practitioners in Scotland can apply for funding to support the development of their practice. You may apply for funding to work with others if your practice is collaborative. You must have a UK bank account.

What help will I receive?

As an individual, you will be able to apply for a grant between £1,000 and £50,000.

It is expected that most applications will be up to £15,000. If you are requesting more than £15,000 you will need to provide additional information.

Funding is also available for organisations.

How do I apply?

Applications opened on 3 April 2020. The fund is open all year round, with no deadlines and can support activity for up to 12 months.

Education Support

Education support are offering a confidential grants service to those in the education sector. More information can be found here.

Eligibility Criteria

If you are working in or retired from the education sector and are suffering financial problems caused by unemployment, ill health, sudden life events, bereavement or a personal injury they may be able to offer support. You must be UK based and have taught or been employed by or in a UK school, college or university; this must be paid employment and you must have been employed for a minimum of one academic term.

What will I receive?

Successful applicants will receive a grant, the sum is unspecified on their website.

How do I apply?

You can apply for the grant directly on their website.

Glyndebourne Freelancer Fund

Glyndebourne are launching a freelancer fund, the details of which will be developed during 2021 but they have commitment to ring-fence funds equivalent to 10% of the value of their annual freelancer costs, to support contracted freelancers in times of need.

More information can be found here.

Help Musicians Covid-19 Financial Hardship Funding

The fourth phase of this funding is now open. Further information on support Help Musicians can offer can be found on the Help Musicians website.

Eligibility Criteria

You must be a self-employed or currently unemployed professional musician (to qualify as a professional musician you must usually earn 50% or more of your income from actively performing music, creating music or undertaking a role that requires a high level of musical skill). The full criteria can be found here.

What help will I receive?

Grant payments from the time your application is successful to March 2021 to top-up Universal Credit payments where relevant. If you do not qualify for Universal Credit , an assessment will be made based on your individual circumstances.

How do I apply?

Visit Help Musicians to apply.

Equity Charitable Trust Coronavirus Emergency Welfare Support for Freelancers

The Equity Charitable Trust has received funding from Arts Council England to disburse to professional performers.

Further information can be found on the Equity website.

Eligibility Criteria

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, new applications for Education Grants are not being considered at this time. Previous applicants, who have already received an Education Grant, may apply for ongoing funding. You do not need to be an Equity member in order to apply. Other musicians are excluded from the scheme.

What will I receive?

Successful applicants can receive a grant up to £2,500.

How do I apply?

Download the Welfare Grants application form. Send the completed form together with a CV, via email, to [email protected].

Applications will be considered on a weekly basis.

Help Musicians: Do It Differently

The Do It Differently fund supports musicians in the three areas of: making music, business development and health and wellbeing.

Eligibility Criteria

The fund is open to professional musicians of all genres and disciplines. You can also be a solo artist, composer, group member, songwriter, producer or a multidisciplinary artist.

What help will I receive?

  • payment of £3,000 in financial support towards creative output
  • business advice sessions
  • health consultation with British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) professionals

How do I apply?

Visit Help Musicians to apply.

MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund

Further information on the fund is on the MU website.

Eligibility Criteria

The fund is open to any current MU member who is a full rate member, is a UK resident and is suffering genuine hardship from loss of work due to coronavirus.

You will only be able to apply to this hardship fund once.

What will I receive?

Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £200. The money will be transferred to your bank account.

How do I apply?

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria should complete the online application form.

Applicants will be notified within 3 working days to confirm whether they have been successful or not with funds being released to successful applicants within a further 5 working days.

ORA Singers Emergency Composers’ Fund

This fund is now closed. Further information can be found on the ORA singers website.

PRS Emergency Relief Fund

This fund is not currently accepting new applications. Further information about PRS can be found on the PRS website.

PRS International Showcase Fund 2020-2021

The International Showcase Fund (ISF) offers export support to perform or create new music at international showcasing festivals or conferences.

Eligibility Criteria

Support is for UK-based artists, bands, songwriters and producers.

What help will I receive?

ISF grants.

How do I apply?

ISF runs on a rolling monthly deadline and information on how to apply can be found on the PRS Foundation website.

PRS Foundation: The Open Fund For Music Creators

This fund supports the development of songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career.

Eligibility Criteria

The fund is open to projects by songwriters, composers, or artists, bands, producers and performers who are writing their own music or commissioning others.

What help will I receive?

Grants of up to £5,000.

How do I apply?

The next deadline is 12 February and information on how to apply can be found on the PRS Foundation website.

PRS Foundation: The Sustaining Creativity Fund

This fund is not currently accepting new applications. Further information can be found on the PRS Foundation website.

PRS Foundation: Women Make Music

This fund is not currently accepting new applications. Further information can be found on the PRS Foundation website.

Royal Society of Musicians

The Royal Society of Musicians (RSM) has donated £1,000,000 to the Help Musicians Coronavirus Hardship Fund. Requests for assistance in respect of coronavirus should be directed to Help Musicians. If you require assistance for anything else, contact the RSM office on [email protected] or by telephone 020 7629 6137.

RPS Enterprise Fund

RPS are offering a new fund to help classical music performers develop their skill set and devise new ways to showcase their talent, in light of the pandemic.

Eligibility Criteria

The fund is open to professional classical performers (instrumentalists, singers and conductors) based in the UK and Ireland. There is no age limit but it is not open to students. You can apply as an individual or as a chamber group.

What will I receive?

This depends on the tier you apply to. The majority of grants will fall under the General tier, which offers grants for a sum up to £2,500. Additionally, for a small number of applicants, there is a Trailblazer tier, which offers a larger grant of up to £10,000.

How do I apply?

Visit RPS Enterprise Fund to apply. The closing date is 21 February 2021.

Scottish Government Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

This fund was paid in May and they do not appear to be accepting new applications. Check on the Scottish Government website for further updates.

Scottish Government supporting the wedding sector

A £25 million fund to support the wedding sector and its supply chain opened on 28 January.

Eligibility Criteria

Businesses (including entertainment such as a band, DJ, piper, and string quartet) impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What will I receive?

The fund provides one-off grants of up to £25,000

How do I apply?

The fund will be managed regionally by Scotland’s three enterprise agencies - South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, see the Scottish Government website for more information.

Start Up Grant from the Welsh government

The Welsh Government has launched a ‘Start Up Grant’ to support new businesses in Wales in dealing with the severe impact of Coronavirus who have not been eligible to benefit from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Eligibility Criteria


To be eligible for the grant businesses must have been set up between the 1 April 2019 and 1 March 2020 and not qualify for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and have not received funding from the Economic Resilience Fund or the Non-Domestic Rates grant.

Businesses should have turnover less than £50,000 and will have experienced a drop of more than 50% income between April and June 2020.

What will I receive?

A grant of £2,500.

How do I apply?

The Start Up Grant is being administered by local authorities and accessed through the Economic Resilience Fund eligibility checker on the Business Wales website.

Applicants are required to submit a short application form and self-declaration that is supported by evidence. In addition, applicants will be required to sign up to Business Wales start-up support and advice and align with the ethos and principles of the economic contract that is part of the Welsh government’s economic action plan.

The Film and TV Charity COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Applications to this fund are now closed. Further information about the The Film and TV Charity can be found here.

The Royal Theatrical Fund

There are two strands of support available. The Fleabag Support Fund opens monthly to provide assistance with financial hardship. More information can be found on the TRTF website.

The Theatre Community Fund supports creativity and innovation and is currently due to start accepting applications again in late 2020 or early 2021. More information can be found on the Theatre Community Fund website.

The Savannah Wisdom Foundation

The Savannah Wisdom Foundation has created a discretionary fund to support freelancers working in the creative and cultural sectors who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Eligibility Criteria

Available to freelancers (resident or business based in Manchester) who fit the following criteria:

  • work has been lost or disrupted because of COVID-19
  • received a monthly income (before tax) of less than £1,400 or £1,900 for those with dependants
  • at least 50% working time was spent, or 50% income was derived, from freelance employment in the arts, cultural and creative industries sector in the period April 2019 to March 2020

What will I receive?

Up to £500,000 is available in grants of £1,500 to individual freelancers.

How do I apply?

Visit the Manchester City Council website.

The Van Morrison Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund

The Van Morrison Official Rhythm and Blues Foundation offers the Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund. Phase one of the fund is closed but they plan to open phase 2 in early 2021. Visit their website for more information.

Welsh Government Cultural Recovery Fund - Freelancer Fund

The Cultural Recovery Fund, launched last summer, provided £63.3 million in 2020 to 2021 to support theatres, music venues, heritage sites, events, museums, libraries, galleries, independent cinemas and freelancers. The fund is delivered jointly by Welsh Government, Arts Council of Wales and local authorities.

It was announced on 22 March 2021 that the fund had been extended and would be open for application from 6 April 2021. Check on the Welsh Government website for more information.

West of England Combined Authority creative freelancer grants

The West of England Combined Authority has announced new business support initiatives for the cultural and creative industries, as part of its regional recovery plan, and this includes creative freelancer grants. The aim of the grant is to give freelancers the funds and guidance needed to adapt business plans and explore new opportunities in response to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Eligibility Criteria

You can register your interest today to receive further information, including notifications when the guidance is available (late March 2021) and when the grant fund opens for applications (April 2021).

What will I receive?

Grants will range from £1,000 - £3,000.

How do I apply?

Visit the West of England Growth Hub website.

More information

You can find out more about benefits that may be available to you through Turn2Us and Citizens Advice.

You can also get information on how each devolved nation organises its crisis and community care funds in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In England, this kind of fund is administrated by local councils. Search online for the name of your council and 'Local Welfare Fund' or find out more on emergency help in England.

In England, if you are required to self-isolate, are unable to work as a result and are on a low income, you may be eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. Contact your local authority for more details.

There are some grants and benefit loans are available through the Social Fund.

More ISM COVID-19 advice