Apply to the Dorset Artists Emergency Fund

Who can apply?

Freelance creatives living and working in Dorset (this includes Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) who are experiencing severe financial hardship due to COVID-19. This fund is for individuals who aren’t able to receive support from other resources and are ‘falling through the gaps’ and not eligible or meeting the criteria for other funds like this one.

This is a hardship fund and not a fee replacement fund. If you’ve lost bookings or work but are not in dire need of financial help, please refrain from applying to this fund. We imagine there will be further opportunities in the coming months. We are looking at creatives in the broadest of terms, this includes artists, musicians, comedians, visual artists, performers, directors, actors, writers, film makers, producers, curators, clowns etc.

We realise a lot of criteria states 50% or more of your income needs to be made through your freelance practice to receive support. We recognise that this has created some barriers to individuals applying for support and some may be falling through the gaps due to this. Whilst we do not expect your freelance work to equate to 50% or more of your income, we do expect that those who are applying are doing so because they are currently unable to pay for their essential living costs due to the loss of freelance income.

You must have a UK bank account and be aged 18 or above to apply.

If you have any additional questions about your eligibility, please contact Molly at: / 07874 339841

What does it support?

This is a short‑term emergency fund to enable Dorset creatives to survive financially. The fund will assist individuals in meeting their most urgent financial needs during the current time of crisis. We are not looking for outputs or artwork. This is a hardship fund. There is no expectation of you to make any creative work to receive support through this fund. The only outcome we strive for, is a financially stable arts sector in Dorset.

This fund should be used to support your essential financial outgoings.

How much can be applied for?

£100 – £500

We aim to raise a minimum of £10,000 with a stretch target of £20,000. We aim to be as responsive as we can to the need so we can support Artists in Dorset.

We have already confirmed £5,000 support, so there will be a minimum of £1,666 available in each round. The Crowdfunder is there to raise the remaining £5,000 and anything additional to that. We realise we won’t be able to fund everyone who needs support. We are committed to supporting the arts sector in Dorset, so please do get in touch.

What is the application and selection process like?

The fund is open for applications on Friday 15th May from 12pm onwards.

The deadline for all applications is Friday 19th June at 12pm.

Throughout this process there will be 3 Rounds where applications will go to a panel.

Round 1 deadline: Friday 22nd May, 12pm
Round 2 deadline: Friday 5th June, 12pm
Round 3 deadline: Friday 19th June, 12pm

b-side are holding the funds and will make payments via BACs transfer. Successful applicants will receive funds within a week of the Round deadline. So successful applicants of Round 1 would receive financial support before Friday 29th May.

Having Rounds to evaluate and process applications will help us to distribute funds as quickly as possible to respond to individuals’ urgent financial needs. It will also enable us to track who is and isn’t accessing the fund – this will help us target particular individuals who might be facing barriers to apply.


If you aren’t successful in Round 1, we will roll your application over to Round 2. If you aren’t successful in Round 2, we will roll your application over to Round 3. At each stage we will keep in touch. What happens if you’re unsuccessful in all rounds? More information below.

We will prioritise those in the Rounds who need financial support urgently. So please, if you only need support in the timeframe of Round 3, note that in your application. Only list your application as ‘Round 1’ if you need immediate financial support.

We’re happy to receive Round 2 and Round 3 applications in the timeframe of Round 1 as this will help us gauge how much support we will need to provide.


The panel is made up of 3 creatives: Gemma Alldred (theatre maker), Oli Barnes (music tutor) and Natasha Player (dance producer). As b-side will be holding and distributing the funds, 1 of our team members will help faciliate the discussion between the panel.

We intend to fund individuals who can’t receive support from elsewhere and need the financial support urgently.

How to apply

Apply via our online form here.
There is a word document of this application form at the bottom of this page.

Please complete the online application form giving the following information:

  • Your contact details
  • A brief description of your work
  • The amount you are applying for (between £100 – £500)
  • A summary of how you are falling through the gaps
  • An additional summary of any additional losses or costs incurred
  • Your bank details

Please note there is no wrong way of filling out this form. Answer the questions how you feel comfortable with. We can accept video / audio entries to the questions, pop the links into the correct question boxes. Or if you need additional support, please get in touch with Eilís. If you feel like there are any barriers stopping you from making an application, please get in touch.

Contact Eilís at Diverse City here: 

What happens if you are unsuccessful?

This is our immediate response to the current situation.

We realise it’s very likely we will not be able to financially support everyone who needs it with this fund. We will use all data collected to help lobby for the cause and hopefully fundraise for further opportunities and funds if there is a clear need.

We want to support you, your work and the sector in Dorset (and of course the wider cultural sector). We would like to keep in touch and use our assets and resources to support you in the ways that we can. All the information provided in your application forms will help us as organisations provide the right opportunities for our sector moving forward.

Please note, the organisations helping to provide this support are also experiencing difficulties and challenges during this crisis. We will provide as much support as we can. Let’s work together.

Bridport Arts Centre will be running a fundraiser shortly.

How are we storing and using your information?

We will use the data provided to create an anonymous summary of the financial support needed for creative freelancers in Dorset. We will share this information with the partner organisations working with us on this fund. The information provided will be used to influence our future opportunities and support offered.

We will use the information provided (anonymously) to lobby for change and support in the sector. We will use the data to prove that ‘Artists Matter’ and make the case for Culture. Any information we use will be anecdotal and will not make any specific applicant identifiable.

b-side’s privacy policy can be found here:

Further information about the fund: 

The Dorset Artists’ Emergency Fund was initiated by b-side after a series of collaborative conversations through the What Next? Dorset Chapter. It was identified through the What Next? meetings that individual creatives have experienced a massive income decrease, some losing all. It became apparent that many individuals are falling through the gaps of financial support – so we initiated the Dorset Artists’ Emergency Fund to help pay rent / bills during the current decrease in funds.

We have worked in collaboration with the following organisations to launch this fund and the attached Crowdfunder:

  • b-side
  • Activate Performing Arts
  • Arts Development Company
  • Artsreach
  • Bournemouth Arts by the Sea
  • Diverse City
  • Dorchester Arts
  • Dorset Music Hub
  • Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts
  • Opera Circus
  • Pavilion Dance South West
  • SoundStorm
  • Wave Arts Education Agency

The above organisations are making a minimum of in-kind contributions. A range of us have donated funds and we launched the Crowdfunder to build up the remaining target. We’re launching on Monday 18th May.

Our initial target is £10,000 with a stretch target of £20,000. We have raised £5,000 between us already.

We aim to be as responsive as we can to the need.

Apply to the Dorset (&BCP) Artists’ Emergency Fund online by clicking here

Round 1 deadline:

Friday 22nd May, 12pm

Round 2 deadline:

Friday 5th June, 12pm

Round 3 deadline:

Friday 19th June, 12pm

A word version of the application form can be found at the bottom of this webpage.


Give money to the Emergency Fund by clicking here.


b-side logo

Activate Performing Arts logo

Artsreach logo

The Arts Development Company logo

Bournemouth Arts by the Sea logo

Diverse City Logo

Dorchester Arts

Dorset Music Hub logo

Lighthouse, Poole logo

Opera Circus logo

Pavilion Dance South West Logo


SoundStorm logo

Wave Arts Education Agency Logo