So now we have clarification that the lock down will continue for at least another three weeks. Although it’s necessary, the strain on us all will intensify as a result – we have all been put under house arrest without the crime effectively. On my very early morning walk this morning, people on Brighton seafront were exercising by running, biking and doing yoga stretches as if their lives depended on it, and to a certain extent, they do.
Questions we now concerned with are things like does a family member just ‘have a cough’ or is it ‘the virus?’ Exactly how long will I be able to cope when I can’t ‘get away from it all’, wherever that might be? Working remotely has its own pressures. But those who have lost all work are struggling the most.
We are doing all we can to support dance professionals during this time particularly through the grants that we are able to give out. We are helping dancers who work within the non-profit arts sector, through Arts Council of England funding specifically to help those whose income has been impacted by COVID-19. Choreographers are being supported via the Arts Council’s Creative Practitioner scheme. For dance teachers, if the need is acute, contact us via our normal application process. If you have a portfolio career, where you are both dancer and choreographer for instance, then you need to decide which fills most of work and income and apply to one of the funds accordingly. The size of the grant from our fund will take into account factors such as household type, particularly whether you have caring responsibilities or not. The staff can’t always answer incoming calls at the moment so the best thing to do is message us through our contacts page if you are uncertain about what funding is available and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
To deal with this increase in requests for assistance we are taking each development as it comes, and awarding as many grants as possible during that time. Our disaster recovery plan is proving essential now due to the need for all staff to work remotely. We are fortunate that we have systems in place to cope with the extra demand too, as our aim is to turn all applications, that are eligible, around in two weeks from being received to awarding a grant. It is really important for you that your application is not held up unnecessarily.
Here are my tips to make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible:
- Make sure you read the guidelines thoroughly first, they are there to help you.
- If you have any questions, that you cannot find the answers to on our website, submit them through the enquiry form first.
- Make sure your application is fully completed, in all sections, and signed.
- Include something more in the reason for applying than just ‘help due to COVID-19’
- Make sure all documentation is attached that is requested in the application.
If, after reading the guidelines, you really feel that you are not eligible to us, there will in all likelihood be somewhere else that you can apply to, so make sure that you look at our ‘other sources of help’ information. We will also signpost you to another charity if we think they can help you.
We are also flagging up mental health and wellbeing sites for dance professionals on our website and social media channels.
So please bear with us, we will do our best to help you we promise.
We’ll get through this, all of us. See you on the other side.