We all know how Covid-19 has affected the world, economy, jobs, industries, healthworkers, peoples lives, people's mental health. We all look at our own scenario and how we struggle through, but as an individual, my world and my income comes from working as part of the amazing Events Industry.
The events industry was the first to stop 'working' and 'operating' as the virus spread across the globe. Friends who were on world tours with bands were told to get on the next flight home - the gig was cancelled! Day after day venue closed, shows were cancelled, some postponed, not knowing what the journey was ahead. Theatres went dark, ticket sales stopped overnight, no-one knowing when we could open the doors to performances.
Freelancers across the Entertainment Industry have been at home since March many with zero income. Freelancers cannot be furloughed, nor access the Government furlough scheme and many small businesses even if they are Directors of Limited companies, if don't pay themselves through PAYE cannot access Director grants or any financial assistance. There are campaigns for freelancers - we are known as 'TheForgotten' and we feel let down by the UK Government.
4 months in to this chaos the Government have announced this week a £1.57 billion bail out for the Arts and arts venues, yet again it is big organisations, venues, and buildings that are being helped. There is no money for the freelancers that all these organisations, tours, music companies, theatre groups, show producers rely on to put the show on the road. We work long hours, we make things happen, and the revenue in taxes alone to government is huge, yet today many of us have no money in the bank, no money for food, no money to pay our bills, and have no idea when we will be able to work again.
Whilst pubs are allowed to open, venues and events with large audiences cannot be considered - our diaries are empty and will remain so for months to come.
I have watched campaigns trying to get traction to government - #weareevents #letthemusicplay #savethearts #lightitinred - there is no financial assistance available to freelancers and we have had enough. Whilst billions are given in bail out to large corporations, the freelance community has been left behind.
Those individuals who can access Universal Credit look at the allowance around £500 - £600 a month and wonder whether to buy food, pay gas or electric, or mortgage as it does not cover all this. With children stuck at home, food bills increase, yet people do not have enough money to get through and are relying on food banks.
As an individual I have had enough spending weeks on end with less that £1 in my bank to look after a child with no way to pay a mortgage - just two weeks ago I sat with my head in my hands crying not knowing how I was going to feed my daughter and pay my bills. I was lucky to get a call with some work to get me through but I would say I am one of the fortunate ones, and I know there are so many others with no option at the moment and something has to be done as we cannot rely on the Government to help us. There are thousands of freelancers in the UK alone desperate for help with nowhere to turn. The charities who would normally be able to assist are running out of funds. We have to do something!
I ask you if you are reading this to help me fundraise to help the UK freelance community We do not know when the phone will ring. We do not know when shows will commence, we are sitting in the wings waiting for the curtain to go up, but with the virus still spreading even singing, dancing, and performing is risky due to close contact.
If Sir Tom can raise £30 million for the NHS I would love to think I can raise £100,000 to distribute through the charity channels helping the events industry - solely for the freelance community to help these individuals get through another month without worry.
Whilst I appreciate money is tight for everyone I ask if you are a large organisation or you are on furlough getting a wage, imagine what it is like for those at home getting nothing. A £1 donation would be amazing! Please help where you can!
Thank you for reading and hope we can help some of our own events industry family in the UK.