Getting financial help
UNDER the NUJ's rules, London Freelance Branch members who expect to experience hardship should contact Branch Welfare Officer Tim Dawson (see here), who will contact the NUJ's charity NUJ Extra. If you expect serious trouble it'd be best to contact him in the near future to arrange a chat about how the Union can help, rather than waiting until you are already skint and desperate.
Just discussing in plenty of time what the problems are and what can be done can be hugely helpful.
On 24 March NUJ Extra trustees issued a statement: "We have never before witnessed times like these and hope never to do so again, but unprecedented circumstances warrant an unprecedented response."
They have had a statutory letter warning that the value of the charity's investments has fallen by more than 10 per cent, by more than £300,000. Despite this, "We will help those directly affected and who lose money as a result, those who contract the disease or who have to self-isolate because of it.s.. We will assume most people can cope with a 14-day isolation... We will prioritise members: who are the sole income earner and have dependants; who have a caring role; and who have no other available support." See www.nuj.org.uk/work/nuj-extra
- London Freelance Branch donates regularly from its - limited - management allowance to support NUJ Extra.
Authors’ Emergency Fund
A £300,000 Authors' Emergency Fund has opened in response to the covid-19 emergency. It has been set up by ALCS (see here for what it is), the Royal Literary Fund, the T.S. Eliot Foundation, English PEN and Amazon UK.
Grants of up to £2000 for urgent need are available, with the definition of "authors" being kept deliberately broad. Yes, journalists are eligible. To apply, see www.societyofauthors.org/Grants/contingency-funds
The Journalists’ Charity
The Journalists' Charity is a longstanding employer-led fund for those of our craft who are in urgent need. It benefits from money from the Newspaper Licensing Agency, which collects money for secondary uses of newspaper articles and passes it onto the newspaper publishers but not to the Freelances who write the articles. So don't feel shy about asking them for money.
To be eligible, you must have been working as a journalist for two of the last five years, with journalism as your main source of income, in the times before covid-19 at least. To apply, see www.journalistscharity.org.uk