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For Freelancers, Self-employed and Unemployed

This page was last updated 20/03/2020. 


This is an uncertain time for all of us and if you are a freelancer, self-employed or have lost your job I understand you must be very worried.  Below is a list of resources, funds and advice lines that might help

with finances, mental health, and finding work. They are by no means exhaustive and I want to crowdsource as much as I can so if you wish to contribute or amend anything please email me at

In particular I would like to see more information about supporting people with children and families

Freelancers are a resilient bunch who are well acquainted with uncertainty and together we will pull through.  This is the perfect time to incubate new ideas, tweak that portfolio or learn new skills.

Government Protection for Renters and Landlords

ESA and Universal Credit

You may be able to get New-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA):
•    If you are a self-employed person remaining at home, but not working  on government advice
•    If you are an employee remaining at home, but not working  on government advice and earning less than £118pw

You will get this from day-one of your self-isolation. New-style Employment and Support Allowance is based on your national insurance contribution record. 

People who need to claim ESA because of coronavirus will not have to produce a fit note.


If you’re employed but your earnings are too low to claim Statuary Sick Pay, you may be able to claim Universal Credit.

You will no longer have to go to the Jobcentre Plus to claim Universal Credit if you’re advised to self-isolate.

Don’t delay making a claim for benefits, even if you think you might have been affected by coronavirus.

However, if you are already getting any of these benefits being replaced by Universal Credit:

  • Housing Benefit

  • Tax Credits

  • Income Support

  • Employment and Support Allowance

And need to make a claim for Universal Credit because of coronavirus, check with the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service as soon as possible to find out how they might be affected and to get advice about your situation.

Application for Employment Support Allowance

Universal Credit

Scottish Welfare Fund - offers a Crisis Grant


Film & TV Charity - offers emergency grants and have set up a helpline


HMRC Helpline for businesses:

BECTU trade union for workers in media and entertainment

advice for Freelancers

Equity Union for Creative Practitioners

Facebook Theatre Workers Support Group


Theatre Worker Charities and Support Lines

For Musicians

Association of Charitible Organisations - lists of other charities

Mutual Aid Groups - Grass Roots self-organising to help the most vulnerable people

Mental Health Support

Creative England and our sister company, Creative Industries Federation, are calling on the government to provide a Temporary Income Protection Fund for freelancers at risk from the fallout of COVID-19. 

Please support this movement by adding your name to our open letter as a signatory!


Petition the governement for Freelancer Sick Pay

Sign this petition to Include self-employed in statutory sick pay during Coronavirus

Creative Industries Federation, are calling on the government to provide a Temporary Income Protection Fund for freelancers at risk from the fallout of COVID-19.

Institute of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed

are lobbying the government to provide an emergency fund for the self employed


Freelancers Facebook Support Group

Remote Work Jobseeking Resources

50 jobs for 50 creative freelancers:

Working From Home

Useful guidance about working from home (if you can)

Other Resources, Advice and Guides

An excellent bank of support resources

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