Where Can Freelancers Find Financial Support? Grants and Funding Opportunities for Creative Freelancers

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Accessing grants and funding can help you to grow and develop your freelance business – but finding the right ones to apply for is not always so straightforward.

It’s important to do your research before you apply for any grant or funding award, as eligibility can depend on a range of different factors.

Below we have listed a host of different options for creative freelancers, and we will keep adding new ones to create a comprehensive list to help you find and apply for funding.

This guide gives an overview of a range of business grants, both from the government and other organisations across the UK. It is only intended as a starting point for your research – if you require further information and details on how to apply, please use the links provided below.

Business support listed on GOV.UK

A good place to start when looking for any form of business support is the GOV.UK website.

Here you an access support such as:

  • Business loans
  • Business Enterprise Funds for different UK regions
  • Business Growth Programmes for different UK regions
  • Business development grants
  • Start-up grant schemes
  • Free advice and support
  • Training and support services

Arts Council England - Financial support for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

Arts Council England are always looking for organisations, artists, events and others to apply for funding and help them achieve their strategy.

Current open funds:

  • National Lottery Project Grants for arts projects
  • Cultural Development Fund
  • Music Hub Investment Programme 2024

Royal Literary Fund

The Royal Literary Fund (RLF) offer a range of grants to professional writers needing short-term to long-term financial support.

This could be to help with an unexpected bill, reduced income or if you are unable to write due to a change in circumstances, sickness, disability or age.

As well as their general grants for writers, the RLF also administers a range of ‘named grants’ for writers of particular genres, regions or stages in their careers. These include:

  • Robert Holman Award - supports professional playwrights who may be struggling and in financial need who come from or are based in the North of England, in the counties of Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
  • B. Priestley Award - given to writers of promise and named after the English novelist, playwright, and social commentator J.B. Priestley, who requested funds from his estate should go towards helping a new generation of writers after his death.

Society of Authors

The Society of Authors administers a range of grants for authors, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others.

These grants include:

 

The Authors’ Foundation: Grants for work in progress

As one of the few organisations to make grants to writers for works in progress, the Society of Authors currently awards over £360,000 each year to published writers or those who have been commissioned by a publisher.

 

Grants for writers in need

The Authors’ Contingency Fund offers hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.

It helps writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others, whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Grants range in value and are designed to meet immediate needs.

 

P D James Memorial Fund

The P D James Memorial Fund offers regular payments to a small number of Society of Authors members who find themselves in financial hardship.

 

Drusilla Harvey Access Fund

Provides support to authors for costs associated with travel, subsistence, childcare or access needs for events, residencies, and retreats

Usual grants will be £150 or less, but fair consideration will be given to all proposals.

Musicians’ Union

MU membership provides access to grants for its members, such as:

  • Benevolent Fund - offer a small grant to members suffering severe financial hardship, for example in cases of illness or injury.
  • Parental Grant - grants of £275 are available to all eligible new parents who are MU members
  • Funeral Grant - a funeral grant of £275 is payable in respect of MU members whose death occurs during their membership

Help Musicians

Help Musicians is an independent UK charity that offers grants, support and mentorship for professional musicians.

Some of the financial support you can access through Help Musicians includes

  • Financial support for postgraduate studies - Help Musicians can provide financial support of up to £5,000 towards study and living costs for the next academic year.
  • ‘Fast Track’ grants of up to £500 - can go towards anything from courses, networking opportunities and equipment to costs associated with recording, releasing and performing.
  • Lots of free training, advice and support

Prince’s Trust – Start Up Funding

The Prince’s Trust can support you with a package of Start Up funding that suits your personal circumstances and is right for your business.

You can apply for up to £30,000 to cover your creative business Start Up costs, this could be a combination of:

  • Start Up Grant (up to £5,000 however amounts are usually less and vary per person) plus
  • Start Up Loan between £500 to £25,000.

Leche Trust – Performing Arts Grants

The Leche Trust is a grant-making charity which administers funds to help the performing arts as well as heritage and conservation.

Their priorities are:

  • the development, production and/or performance of new works in music, theatre, dance and performance across all genres
  • to support artists’ professional development through programmes that address a clear need or gap in development. These programmes can be aimed at early or mid-career artists but they need to reflect current context and practices.

Their performing arts grants are typically around £4,000 – sometimes smaller and rarely larger. We prefer to give grants to smaller projects, or specific elements of projects, where our contribution can have a greater impact.

Creative Debuts – Black Artists Grant

Creative debuts is an art platform that provides opportunity and support to thousands of emerging artists from all over the world.

The Black Artists Grant (BAG) offered by Creative Debuts is a no-strings attached financial support to help black artists. The grant can be spent on whatever the artist wants – be that to make new work, buy equipment or materials, travel, research, visit exhibitions or conferences, or to even just cover some life expenses.

Written by

Luke Glassford

Marketing Director

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