I'm Laurence Young, a freelance theatre director and maker in Manchester. I also work part-time for an NPO and thankfully have enough money coming in from them where I can pay my rent and survive the coming months. Unfortunately, in these very weird times for the arts sector and wider society, many of us don't have contracted employment, be that through zero-hours work or being freelance, and suddenly lots of people are looking at financial ruin because of everything closing. Inspired by artists such as Luke Barnes in Liverpool, Amahra Spence in Birmingham, Jay Crutchley in Bristol, and Bryony Kimmings in London (and many others), this fundraiser has been set up to help support those artists in Greater Manchester who now due to lost earnings are looking at significant hardship in the coming weeks/months.
The following words are Amahra's who articulates things in a way that makes sense to echo here.
The creative and cultural industries are now valued at £111.7 billion, growing a twice the rate of the economy. These same industries are reliant on the labour of freelancers, self-employed workers and artists, yet these are the same people who are at the frontline of precariousness. In times of crisis, change, cuts & pandemics, the foundation of our workforce that we "celebrate" annually for their contributions to economic growth are most vulnerable.
Many workers face economic uncertainty, while bills, childcare costs, rent and livelihoods demand so much. We are about to enter even more turbulence. Tie all of this with no statutory sick pay, cancellations, pending lockdown and an industry not centred on care, the potential for further harm is greater than ever. We are already seeing artists and freelancers unable to work due to the closing of theatres, events, civic spaces and public gatherings
The idea is to provide 10 x £200 hardship funds for any artists, practitioners and creative freelancers that cannot work during this time or who have been affected by cancellations or other impacts.
These will be distributed on a first come first served basis. If you're in need and would like to request, email me on [email redacted]. No questions asked, no proof needed. If this fund speaks to you, we want to help. If you can give, please give generously. If we make more than what we're fundraising for, we'll be able to support more artists. The first couple will be available by the end of the month. If we get lots of generous donations, we'll go again, for as long as we can.
I only moved to Manchester six months ago, but in that time have been floored by the generosity, kindness, and love that lives amongst the artist community here and that sustains this city. Honestly moving to Manchester has been the best decision of my life, so just want to try and pay back a little to the city that has already been so good to me.
Much love, and keep washing those hands
- Jenna Omeltschenko
- Joseph Young
- Rosie MacPherson
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