Savannah Wisdom helps create new fund for freelancers working in Manchester’s Arts and Culture sector

The new fund –The Cultural Sector Hardship Fund – launched on Monday 1st February, to support those working in the creative & cultural sectors who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. Along with partners, B&M Community Fund, the £500,000 is available in grants of £1,500 to individual freelancers based in Manchester. Manchester City Council will administer the scheme on our behalf, aided in the process by HOME Manchester providing a dedicated telephone information service.

Savannah Wisdom CEO, Shalni Arora, a keen supporter of the Arts in Manchester, recognised early on in the Pandemic that the Cultural Sector was going to be hit really hard by the necessary measures put in place to stop the spread of the disease. However, she was hopeful that the Government grants offered at the time would manage to sustain those affected until they could work again. When it became apparent that there were workers finding themselves ineligible for the scheme, The Foundation, started to look at ways it could get involved directly.

Shalni said: ‘The Savannah Wisdom Foundation really value the part played by freelancers in Manchester culture and we really hope that this fund can help encourage those suffering, through no fault of their own, a small incentive to keep going.  We hope this grant builds resilience in our city’s cultural offering, so that our post pandemic recovery is stronger and faster

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Executive Member for Culture, Skills and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: ‘Our unrivalled arts and culture scene is what makes Manchester such a great vibrant place to be and is recognised the world over – each year helping bring thousands of visitors into the city. SWF and B&M are to be applauded – not just for recognising the part played by every freelancer who works in the sector, but also for showing through the fund they have set up exactly how much they care, and how they completely understand the impact the pandemic is having on them.

Jon Gilchrist, Executive Director at HOME, said: ‘Cultural organisations across the city have been working together to support all areas of the cultural sector devastated by this pandemic. Freelancers are without doubt the most affected with many slipping through gaps in funding schemes. With this further lockdown, we risk losing an entire generation of talented artists and creative practitioners if we don’t act now. Thanks to this incredible gift, some of the people at the greatest risk of financial hardship will get some additional support. HOME are proud to be the industry partners for this scheme, and will continue to work tirelessly in support of the artistic community in Manchester to ensure the cultural recovery in Manchester sees us bounce back better than ever.

For any further information on the fund and for grant application information, please contact the dedicated helpline at HOME Manchester, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 0161 523 0444 or email