Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers

Support provided by Creative Scotland

What does this involve?

Funding is available to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediate financial hardship means an inability to meet essential costs at the present time.

The funds offer a one-off payment to those who are deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the pandemic.

This is now in the second round of funding which opened on Tuesday 10 November. 

Please note that you can only apply once to this fund. Please do not apply more than once using multiple email addresses.

Creative Scotland realises that not everyone will be able to respond to this opportunity immediately, and will hold back a portion of the budget to support requests that take a little more time to reach them.

Am I eligible?

The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is open to freelance professionals whose work has direct creative outcomes. They must derive a significant proportion of income from their role in creating or producing original artistic, creative or design material. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • visual artists
  • writers or makers of poetry, prose or fiction
  • playwrights
  • actors or theatre-makers
  • comedians
  • dancers
  • musicians
  • craft makers or designers

It is also open to freelance professionals whose work directly supports the making and presentation of creative work, including events. They must derive a significant proportion of income from their role in supporting or producing original artistic, creative or design material and events. This can include (but is not limited to):

  • theatre producers
  • lighting designers
  • gig promoters
  • independent curators or creative producers

The following are not eligible to apply to this fund:

  • those deriving the majority of their income from client-led work – for example in advertising, architecture, software/electronic publishing and from technical areas of writing and publishing such as news journalism, educational, technical, academic and professional writing
  • those working in the screen and photography sector (as they were covered by the Screen Scotland Hardship Fund which was recently administered and applications are presently being assessed)
  • those working in the heritage sector including interpretation consultants, designers and tour guides
  • those who cannot demonstrate a freelance professional creative practice
  • those currently working in paid full-time employment
  • individuals based outside Scotland
  • those who are currently furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and are receiving 80% or more of their full-time salary.
  • self-employed individuals (or members of a partnership) who have received support under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) equivalent to, or in excess of the UK living wage, pro rata, since 1 April 2020 (we calculate this as £10,114).
  • anyone studying either full-time, or as part of a long term, formal or accredited programme at college or university (at the time of application) including PhD students
  • academics or other education professionals not in freelance positions

What does this cost?

It is free to apply.

Who is this for?

These funds are to support freelance creative professionals working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland. It is specifically for those who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

These roles include those whose work has direct creative outcomes as well as those who directly support the making and presentation of creative work.

All applicants must be based in Scotland and must be able to demonstrate they were working and making income as a freelance creative professional before lockdown began (in March 2020).

How long does this take?

The funds are offered on a non-competitive basis and ask for minimal information, so awards can be made as quickly as possible.

All eligible recipients should receive money in their account within six weeks of submission of their request. If there are any delays to this, they will be informed. 

Important information

To apply, you will need to do the following:

  • All applicants must first register on the Creative Scotland online application portal. 
  • It will ask you to set up a temporary application account – which you do by simply providing your name and email address and creating a secure password.
  • It will ask you to verify your email address (by emailing you confirmation that you want to set up the account) and once this is done, you can log in and begin.
  • Once logged in, you will be asked for your name and contact details. You will also be asked to select what you do (that is, what is your freelance role presently) from a drop-down list of eligible roles.
  • Based on what you choose, you will be given a unique reference number and will be directed to the appropriate funder and application form. 


ROUTE A: Applying to one of the partner hardship funds
If your role is supported by a partner, you will be given a link to their fund and application form. Please note - you will be required to submit the unique reference number when you apply to the fund. Please don’t attempt to apply direct to one of the partner funds without having first set up your account with Creative Scotland and received your unique reference number.

ROUTE B: Direct support from Creative Scotland
This is for eligible freelancers whose roles are not supported by any of the partner hardship funds. If your role is supported by Creative Scotland, you will be able to continue on their application portal and complete and submit your application through the system. 

Next steps

Visit the Creative Scotland website for more information and to download the fund guidance.

Support provided by Creative Scotland

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