U.K. Film and TV Charity Launches COVID-19 Recovery Fund, Focus on Supporting Representative Talent

The U.K.’s Film and TV Charity is rolling out a new COVID-19 Recovery Fund that will distribute up to £2 million ($2.5 million) to film, TV and cinema workers who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

The fund is designed to support those impacted financially by the crisis and who are most likely to see a negative impact on their careers, resulting in a focus on talent from diverse backgrounds. The scheme will deliver a targeted financial and wellbeing support that will enable recipients to support themselves for up to six months.

The fund, founded with a £1 million ($1.3 million) donation from Amazon Prime Video, has grown due to donations from BAFTA, BBC Studios, Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and ViacomCBS, as well as private donors and various fundraising efforts.

The new fund will seek to protect the industry’s diverse talent pipeline by focusing on supporting those at greatest personal and professional risk as a result of the pandemic. Recent research commissioned by the charity has warned of the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on some groups that already face barriers to entry within the industry, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers, women, those living outside of London and people with a disability.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said: “We know that diverse talent — including women, those who are Black Asian or minority ethnic, and those who are disabled — are now being disproportionately impacted by the crisis due to a range of factors. So we have a real concern that without urgent support we will lose these people from our industry.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generous support of Amazon Prime Video, many BAFTA Members, BBC Studios, Sky Studios, Sony and ViacomCBS, as well as the generous individuals and enthusiastic efforts of people in the industry who have made this possible. We have a real opportunity to take action to support workers in greatest need now in order to protect the diversity of our industry for the future and I hope that others will seize this moment to donate to our COVID-19 Response.”

The new scheme is part of the Film and TV Charity’s wider COVID-19 response, which has seen the charity pivot to find new ways to support the industry. To date, the charity has raised more than £5.8 million ($7.4 million) of ringfenced funding, launched a range of mental wellbeing services and provided ancillary services including financial guidance.

The charity needs to raise a further £900,000 ($1.1 million) to meet the costs of the COVID-19 response and is inviting further donations.

Georgia Brown, director of European Originals at Amazon Studios, said: “We know this help is much needed right now as the U.K. creative industry rebuilds and productions tentatively re-start across the country, so we’re delighted to be supporting the Film and TV Charity in their continued efforts to attract more donations so that even more members of our creative community, especially those who’ve been disproportionately affected, can be supported.”

Amanda Berry OBE, chief executive at BAFTA, added: “Now, more than ever, we must come together as an industry to support the talented individuals who are struggling and do all we can to safeguard a diverse creative workforce. I would like to say a huge thank you to the BAFTA members and supporters who have generously donated to the Film and TV Charity’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund and who continue to support BAFTA’s own charitable mission. I would also like to applaud the Film and TV Charity for their ongoing work to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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