We know that over the past two years our members have been concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on their health and their working lives and as your union we’ve been here to support you and to give you the advice and information you need.
Our current office arrangements
As we emerge from the pandemic, the WGGB office is now operating on a hybrid model – with staff undertaking a mixture of remote and office working. The best way to contact our staff is still via email. You can find individual contact emails, plus a list of the different services our staff provide (including support and advice) here. If you are unable to email please do phone the office on 020 7833 0777.
Online joining and renewal of WGGB subscriptions via our website continues as usual. Online joining and renewal of subscriptions via cheque or direct debit continues as normal, as does applications to the WGGB pension scheme.
We put together the following resources to support our members during the pandemic and these are still relevant for those concerned about their health, their work, or their finances. We have also produced a special Covid-19 page for writers in Wales which is available as a Welsh-language version.
You can find out more about our campaigning work during the pandemic here.
For those concerned about their health:
- Access the NHS advice pages for regular updates
- This Government web page has the latest on Covid-19 including a search facility so you can find out the situation in your local area.
- Mental health charity Mind has produced advice for those feeling anxious or worried about the virus.
- Anxiety UK has also produced advice for those feeling anxious.
- Film and TV Charity and Togetherall have launched a mental health community, free to those who work behind-the-scenes in film and TV. You can receive support in groups or one-to-one chats, with peers or trained guides, access self-help courses and self-assessment tools to enable you to track your progress. Find out more here.
- Rehab4Addiction has produced a Covid-19 guide for better mental health. You can access it here.
- You can find other mental health support resources on our website.
For those concerned about work:
- Leading playwrights and theatres backed best-practice guidelines we launched to protect writers and the health of the sector during lockdown. We also launched new digital principles for theatre, to protect playwrights’ rights following the explosion of streaming and online delivery of stage plays during Covid-19. Read more
- We launched the New Play Commission Scheme to combat the decline in new commissions as a result of the pandemic.
- We welcomed the extension and increases to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and campaigned for an extension of SEISS to support those estimated three million freelancers who have fallen through the gaps. Find out more.
- We launched Write On, a free series of online events during lockdown to support writers in their careers. Find out what sessions we’ve got coming up.
- Creative UK has brought together advice from across the sector which you can find here.
- SOLT/UK Theatre have a free helpline for theatre professionals.
- Leading theatrical charities came together to support those working in the industry during the crisis and have produced the Theatre Support Info website with advice on work, mental health, financial support and more.
- Arts Council England pledged to support the arts sector during this time and freelancers working within it. You can find their latest information here and details of funding for freelancers in the section on finances, below.
- WGGB members are eligible for free and discounted training as part of their membership (find out more).
- ScreenSkills launched a free package of remote and interactive training, online talks and masterclasses to support freelancers in the film and TV industries. Find out more.
- The Film and TV Charity Support line is available 24/7 on 0800 054 00 00. It offers emotional support, advice and also support grants if you’re experiencing significant financial difficulties.
- Citizens Advice Bureau has web and phone support, including online resources, a national helpline and how to access online and phone support in your local area. Find out more here.
For those concerned about finances:
- WGGB has a Welfare Fund for members experiencing urgent financial difficulty. Full details and an application form.
- The website Entitled To has a handy benefits calculator on its website, plus special information about state benefits and the Covid crisis. You can find it here.
- If you are a tenant and concerned about losing your home, Housing charity Shelter has full information and a helpline on its website.
- HMRC set up a special helpline for self-employed people concerned about meeting tax payments with details of changes the Government made to the self-assessment process. The number is 0800 0159 559 and you can find more information here.
- SOLT and UK Theatre launched the Theatre Artists Fund to support theatre practitioners during Covid-19. Check the website for details of current/future rounds of funding.
- Fleabag Support Fund in partnership with The Royal Theatrical Fund is open for rolling rounds of funding for small crisis grants. Find out more.
- The Society of Authors and partner organisations including ALCS established a £330,000 emergency fund to support authors through the crisis. Find out more here.
- The Royal Literary Fund (RLF) has sources of support for published authors experiencing financial difficulty, who meet certain criteria. Find out more. You can also read a leaflet RLF has produced here.
- WGGB members played a leading role in fighting for Public Lending Right in the UK and this means that authors are paid from Government funding when their books are borrowed from public libraries. To qualify for payments, applicants must register their books, audio books, e-books and e-audio books and you can find full information on how to do this on the British Library website.
- If you are a member of WGGB you are eligible to join the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society as a lifetime member for free, and once you have done so you can register to receive the twice yearly royalty payments the ALCS distributes on behalf of 70,000 writers. If you are a writer of published novels, short stories, poetry, journalism, non-fiction books, including text books, manuals and guides, or if you are a TV or radio scriptwriter, you are eligible to receive these royalties. Full information on the ALCS website.
- Writers Digital Payments was set up by WGGB and the Personal Managers’ Association in 2015 to ensure TV writers receive royalties when their work is shown on BBC iPlayer or ITV Player. It has paid out over £5.5 million to scriptwriters since it was launched and if you have written for BBC or ITV you will receive these payments automatically. Find out more.
- Society of Authors and ALCS set up the Author SHARE scheme to ensure authors get royalties when their second-hand books are sold by Book Barn International and World of Books. To qualify, you must be a member of ALCS and register your work. If you are already a member and have registered your work, you don’t have to do anything. Find out more.
- The Royal Theatrical Fund provides support for people who have worked in the entertainment industry – this includes financial support, but also visits and phone calls and advice on benefits and debt. It is also administering the Theatre Community Fund.
- The Turbine Theatre charity is crowdfunding to provide financial support for creatives and others freelancers working in theatre. Find out how you can apply to the fund and make a donation here.
- Photo: Shutterstock.com/NadezdaMurmakova