Coronavirus: Members Update 31 March 2020

Coronavirus: Members Update 31 March 2020


These are strange and unprecedented times, but we hope that the Scottish Artists Union can be of some help to the many members who have found themselves with little or no work and no chance of work for the duration of the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


We are sure that you have many concerns at this difficult time, but we want to reassure you that we are working tirelessly, lobbying governments on your behalf, to keep you up to date with developments. We believe that it is vitally important to speak on and behalf of artists and makers, and to have our very specific concerns heard.

Many of our members are self-employed, and we share concerns over the increased precarity freelancers are facingwithout access to statutory sick pay. We have put together guidance and information that we hope you will find helpful. We know that this period is going to be challenging for everyone, but through it, we will continue to give you voice and visibility. Our core activities are entirely funded by our membership, and we do not receive funding from any other funding body. We hope that you agree that now more than ever we need a strong union for artists.

In order to demonstrate the actual impacts of this crisis, we would like to hear from you about how this situation is affecting you and your professional life.

Please can you email us outlining your current situation and the effects so far.

Share with us your experiences

Please include details regarding:

  • whether you are self-employed/employed;
  • how your work has been affected, commissions, exhibitions, sales;
  • the impact on you financially
  • and the impact on your mental/physical health.

Our Accountants Alterledger have added useful information to their website regarding issues of Tax etc. Follow this link for more info or contact your own accountant for advice.

Some members might not be eligible for the self-employed support if for example they set up as self-employed after April 2019 or they don’t earn more than half of their income from self employment. The current advice given is to look into eligibility for Universal Credit. 

Further information can be found here on the UK government website

Also of use might be:

The Federation of Small Business has provided helpful insight on this

New Creative Scotland Funding 

Creative Scotland have now announced new support in the form of a revamped Open Project Fund & Bridging Bursary Programme
The new Bridging Bursary Programme is for individuals in immediate
 need that will be simple and non-competitive and available now.

Also of help ….


STUC have published advice on the UK Government’s self-employment scheme on their website that may be helpful:

Better than Zero, run by the STUC, who support campaigning and organising against employers – more info here:

STUC Guidance:

TUC Guidance:

Scottish Welfare Fund 

The Scottish Welfare Fund is available to those who are on low incomes and struggling with rent or living costs.

Disability Arts Online - Paid Opportunities for Disabled Artists 

Disability Arts Online have created a new commissions pot for disabled artists. 

A list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines:

We recognise that this will be a very worrying time socially, personally, professionally, and financially. We also recognise that for the most vulnerable and those having to self-isolate and practice social distancing, this will be worrying and isolating. We encourage members to follow advice issued by the Scottish Government that anyone developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, however mild should self-isolate for 7 days.

Support for artists in other countries

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) gives financial support to employed and self-employed persons (over 15 years old) who reside in Canada, and who are directly affected by COVID-19. If a person is eligible, they can receive $2,000 per month for up to 24 weeks.
Eligibility requirement: persons residing in Canada who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application. It takes 3 days to one week for applicants to receive funds.  

Symptoms of Covid-19

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

If symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days then people should be advised to phone NHS24 (111). Stay at home advice for people who have symptoms and are self-isolating which can be found on NHS Inform or by calling the helpline on 08000282816.

We hope that this information will provide some reassurance and advice to help you feel supported and focused throughout this uncertain and unfolding situation. Pleasecheck our website regularly for more updates

We know that you will be working on your own contingency plans but we are here to help and give advice in any way that we can. Our staff team will be continuing to work from home and we will be working harder than ever to support you in the coming days and weeks.

Please be aware that we are a team of part time workers. Email is currently the best form of communication – please don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions. This is our availability over the next week: 

Lynda Graham, President
Available Thursday, based Edinburgh 
[email protected]

Gordon Dickson, Finance Manager & Members' Enquiries
Available Wednesday & Thursday, based Glasgow
[email protected]

Fiona Danskin, Membership & Administration
Available for limited hours Monday-Wednesday, based Glasgow 
[email protected]

Lauren Printy Currie, Learning Programme Manager
Available Monday-Wednesday, based Glasgow
[email protected] 

Kirsten Body, Learning Organiser
Available Thursday & Friday, based Inverness 
[email protected]

You can contact our voluntary Executive Community on [email protected]

We hope to bring you regular updates over the coming weeks.

Stay safe & healthy everyone!


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