Last updated: 27 August 2020
Like all organisations, our response to the COVID-19 health pandemic is ongoing and we continue to monitor advice from the Government and Public Health England.
While our priority is the health and safety of SoA staff, members and partners, we continue to work on minimising the impact on our core services, including:
- Membership services
- Grant giving and awards
- Estates management
- Community engagement
This page is designed to keep you updated on what any changes might mean for you. We will revise this information regularly to explain how we are adapting our working practices. See below to read about how the SoA staff team is adapting, and about our programme of free online events to guide you through the lockdown.
We realise that you may face financial difficulties as a result of event cancellations, illness and other issues caused directly or indirectly by the health crisis. We’ve compiled a list of funding, professional and other resources that we hope will be useful to you.
You can still keep in touch with us via the usual methods:
- Email [email protected]
- Phone 020 7373 6642
- Website societyofauthors.org
- And of course Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
SoA staff team
Our offices at Bedford Row remain closed to visitors, with the majority of staff working from home. We have taken the following steps to ensure that we are a COVID-19 secure workplace:
- Carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with employees.
- Cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance.
- Taken all reasonable steps to help people work safely in a COVID-19 secure workplace or working from home.
- Taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2-metre distance in the workplace.
- Complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of staying COVID-19 secure in 2020.
- Where people cannot keep 2-metres, apart we have ensured at least a 1-metre distance and taken all the mitigating actions possible to manage transmission risk.
In addition to these measures, we have adapted our working practices so that we can continue to provide a full advice and membership service, via email and phone, regardless of where individual members of staff are based. We conduct meetings online or by phone, not face to face.
Some of our work areas will continue with minimal change, while others, such as our events programme, have transferred online.
While we continue to create a sense of ‘business as usual’ for you, these aren’t usual times for any of us, so do bear with us if this means some things take a little longer for us to deliver, or need to be delivered in a different way.
SoA @ Home Festival - October to December 2020
Our SoA @ Home Festival continues online…
We will return with our Autumn/Winter programme of online events, including professional development, panel discussions and afternoon teas, in October 2020.
Booking will open a fortnight at a time. Click here to browse current events
With the rapidly changing nature of the coronovirus outbreak, information and advice from Government is constantly being updated.
You can find the current Government advice at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If you have questions about cancellations or contractual difficulties caused by the health crisis, get in touch with our advice team.
For sound financial advice on what the Government’s support for freelance workers means for you, call the HW Fisher Tax Helpline (you’ll need to sign in to your SoA member account for details).
And there is clear, regularly updated information on the Citizens Advice website.
You can find more specific information via the links below.
- Authors’ Emergency Fund
Grants for writers in need from the SoA, ALCS, RLF, English PEN in Partnership with the T S Eliot Foundation, and Amazon UK.
- Creative Scotland have announced new funding programmes aimed at supporting individuals’ immediate needs due to lost income/work, and sustaining their creative practice through the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Bridging Bursary – a fund for those individual artists and freelancers who have lost income from their creative work and/or practice due to COVID-19. You can apply for between £500-2,500 to support your immediate needs.
- Open Fund – Sustaining Creative Development – Freelance and self-employed artists and creative practitioners in Scotland can apply for projects supporting the development of their practice. You can apply for between £1,000-50,000 though Creative Scotland expect most awards to be up to £15,000.
- Find full details of both schemes here
- Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund
The Film and TV Charity is partnering with BFI to develop a short term system of grants for workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK.
- Arts Council of Wales
Urgent response fund for creative freelancers in immediate financial difficulty in due to COVID-19. Round two closes on 6 May.
- Royal Literary Fund
Grants and pensions for writers in financial difficulty.
- Fleabag Support Fund
Providing grants to freelancers working in the theatre industry who are in urgent financial need and unable to work as a direct result of coronavirus pandemic, set up by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
- Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund
A £1.5 million fund offering grants of £1,500-£2,000 to freelance creative practitioners based in England and Northern Ireland who work in the visual arts and are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Audio & Radio Emergency Fund
Grants of up to £1,000 from The Radio Academy to help those in audio and radio sector facing hardship due to pandemic
- SoA guidance on cancellations
We have published a guide for authors on what to do if contracts or engagements are cancelled – download (PDF)
- Tax advice for authors
Advice in brief from HW Fisher – tax support, your obligations and support for small businesses
- Guidance for freelancers
Resources from The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE)
- Guidance for employers and businesses
Government resources for employees, employers and businesses
- What happens if my speaking engagement is cancelled?
Advice on Coronavirus and contracts from the legal team at Harbottle & Lewis
- Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
Some topical self-help resources from Pros-Consulte Group
- If you are in urgent need of mental support or help
Please visit our help pages for immediate support options available, including the Samaritans 24-hour helpline
- Every Mind Matters
Expert advice and practical tips on looking after your mental health and wellbeing from the NHS