The BBC has committed to donate £700k to The Film and TV Charity, the charity supporting the UK’s film, TV and cinema workforce.
This donation is intended to assist those affected by the hiatus in filming and production caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, particularly freelance workers.
The funds will give immediate support for people working in film, TV and cinema, with £500,000 going towards the new Film and TV COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI). Netflix has already pledged £1m to the fund with others expected to follow.
£200,000 will go into the charity’s two-year mental health action plan, known as the Whole Picture Programme, to address the widespread issues found in research released by the charity earlier this year.
The BBC joins the industry-led Film and TV Taskforce on Mental Health, set up to co-fund and co-create the action plan and spearhead a movement for change within the industry.
The funds will come principally from the BBC’s commercial production and distribution arm, BBC Studios, with contributions from public service commissioning teams, including BBC Content.
Charlotte Moore, Director, BBC Content, said: “Freelancers are the lifeblood of our industry, keeping our shows creatively brilliant for all audiences. At times like these it is critical we stand by them. We are proud to contribute to The Film and TV Charity, to support our industry’s freelance community during these unprecedented times.”
Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Studios said: “This is a critical time for our industry, and we want to do all we can to support the talented and hard-working individuals who are so essential to our sector. As part of that, we are glad to back The Film and TV Charity’s important mission. I hope that this will play a part to ease the difficulties some are facing, and protect those who help to make the UK’s creative sector the envy of the world.”
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, added: “Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on the thousands of talented and brilliant people who work in our TV industry. For so many, their livelihoods have disappeared overnight. The financial losses are accompanied by serious mental health concerns as we enter a period of isolation and joblessness. This exceptional commitment by the BBC to support the Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund for workers, and also the Whole Picture Programme for better mental health in TV, will help us to provide the urgent support that is so desperately needed.”
The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding but the fund will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. Those interested in hearing when the fund launches should register for the charity’s mailing list at https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/keep-in-touch/
Those in immediate and urgent need can apply for support via The Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support. This hardship fund will sit alongside the new Film and TV Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
The Film and TV Charity already provides 24/7 mental health support to the industry via the Support Line. You can speak to a friendly advisor by calling 0800 054 00 00 or using Live Chat.
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