About the fund and eligibility

In March 2020, the lights were dimmed on Manchester’s Arts and Culture sector, with theatres, libraries, museums and arts centres being amongst the first to close their doors to the public at the start of the pandemic.

With the nation in another lockdown, the future is uncertain for many cultural organisations and the freelancers who work with them. 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. The charity is making up to £500,000 available in grants of £1,500 to individual freelancers.

The fund is designed to assist those whose freelance work has been lost or disrupted because of COVID-19 and who are experiencing hardship because of:

  • reduced demand for, or capacity to deliver, their services 
  • the part of the sector they work in is temporarily unable to trade (due to local/national lockdown measures, social distancing requirements or loss of trade)   


The fund is available to freelancers within the arts, cultural and creative industries in Manchester (including: music, theatre, dance, combined arts, visual arts, museums, literature, creative industries, heritage culture and heritage, and whose work has direct creative/cultural outcomes) who are able to demonstrate the following:

  • Freelance work has been lost or disrupted because of COVID-19
  • Current 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*
  • Resident of, or business based in, Manchester** 

* New entrants to freelance work in the sector are also eligible if you can provide details of 8 weeks(5 weeks for disabled applicants) of relevant freelance work during the period January 2019 to March 2020 

**You may still be eligible if you live in Greater Manchester but can evidence your freelance work is primarily in Manchester 

By freelancer we mean:   

  • Individual freelance sole trader, or 
  • company director of a limited company or partner within legally constituted partnership, whose earnings are predominantly derived from their company’s dividends and who does not receive a salary from the company. 

How to apply

See Exclusions

Advice if you claim benefits