Genesis launches £100k freelance aid fund

The Genesis Foundation has launched a £100,000 aid fund for freelance artists involved in its programmes, with a call for other charities to do the same.

Despite the large arts fund of £1.57bn made available by the Treasury last week, no special provision was made for freelances most of whom are either not eligible for the government’s self-employed income support scheme or whose support ends next month.

The new Genesis fund adds 20% to the foundation’s commitment to its partners, the Almeida, LAMDA, the National Theatre, the Young Vic and The Sixteen. Each partner is to distribute the money to freelance actors, writers, directors and performers associated with them but whose livelihood is threatened by the continuing lockdown.

“The UK’s creative industries have suffered unprecedented damage from Covid-19” said Genesis chairman John Studzinski, who created the foundation 20 years ago. “Emergency aid has come from Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery fund and we welcome the government’s ambitious rescue package. In the meantime, freelancers are bearing the brunt as theatres, museums and music organisations are struck by catastrophe. Our Genesis fund is intended as a lifeline to the artists the Genesis Foundation believes in. The Genesis Foundation calls for other charities and philanthropists to provide further support to this traditionally thriving sector.

“Supporting the arts is not charity, it is an investment” he went on. “The sector is a crucial driver for this country's economy and prestige. It reinforces communities. It enhances our mental health, well-being and spiritual growth. We need artists more than ever. Let’s help them now.”

The initiative was welcomed by harry Christophers, founder and conductor of The Sixteen (pictured). “In this time of great uncertainty this fund comes at a key moment” he said. “Government support for freelancers and the self-employed comes to an end in August (those at the start of their career are ineligible in any case), and we are no clearer about what performance opportunities, if any, there will be for freelancers in the autumn.  Launching a career as a performer is daunting enough under normal circumstances, but for a young singer to be launching a career under the current conditions this support could make all the difference and give them the courage to keep on the performing path”.

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