Maker Guides

A Maker's Guide to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Photography by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

Photography by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

Updated: 4pm, Friday 3 April 2020

We currently find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be a pandemic.

Considering these global developments, we understand that this may be an increasingly uncertain time for you and your loved ones, and for your craft business. We have created this guide and list of resources to help prepare your craft business for the months ahead.  

Information around COVID-19 is changing rapidly, it is important to stay up to date with the latest position. Additional information can be found on the World Health Organization website.

Please note that the information below is subject to change, visit the UK Government’s website to keep updated. Scottish Government information includes links to travel advice and regular updates on the number of cases.   

Craft Scotland will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with our partners to follow government advice. If there are any changes to our programme we will let you know through our website, newsletters and social media. Read our full message on Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Cultural community update

Creative Scotland has launched three funding programmes designed to provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak. The two most relevant to makers and the craft community are:

  • Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund will help sustain creative practice by freelance creative professionals who have lost earnings due to the cancelation of work as a result of COVID-19. Currently paused due to demand, will reopen Monday 20 April 2020. 
  • The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development will provide support for individuals and organisations to sustain their creative development in the coming months. Open now. 

Creative Scotland has also confirmed that it “will be understanding if people/organisations need to change their plans as a result of COVID-19”. You can read Chief Executive, Iain Munro's statement and specific guidance on their funding support. 

They have a collated an A-Z of funding and resources available for those in the creative community, who have been affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Visual Arts Scotland launched a new micro-grant fund (£250) on Wednesday 1 April 2020. Emergency Art Workers Support Fund (EAWSF) is a temporary relief fund that aims to support creative practitioners who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are in severe financial need. Fund closes midnight, Wednesday 8 April 2020.

ArtsProfessional will be providing regular updates on projects and resources to support wellbeing, careers and creativity in the arts.

The Scottish Government have published resources specific to the Culture and Creative sector.


Support for the Self-employed

The UK Government announced a new scheme on Thursday 26 March 2020 that will allow self-employed people to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online. Full information

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19


Micro and Small Businesses update

The Scottish Government announced measures to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April, including a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism. Plus, £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief

Scottish Enterprise have launched a new helpline for Scottish businesses seeking tailored advice on COVID-19. It will be open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Call handlers will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19 as well as relaying the challenges faced by businesses to the Scottish government. The helpline number is 0300 303 0660. They have also prepared a checklist to prepare your business

SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) have published a Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub, including an informative guide about keeping services running and looking at contingency planning.

Federation of Small Businesses have collated a guide for small businesses including advice for your business continuity plan and if you need to close your business. They have also made their webinar "Coronavirus: Financial help explained for SMEs and the self-employed" held on Friday 27 March, available on their website. 

Anderson Strathern have published several guidelines for employers, including guidance on the Job Retention Schemegeneral guidelines for employers, and a FAQ for employers

UKFT have published guidelines specific to businesses applying to CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) in the Support for Business category of their Coronavirus hub


Studio holders, Employers & Workshop leaders

The Scottish Government has produced guidance for the workplace and non-healthcare settings

NHS Scotland advice page includes a communications toolkit for employers to help keep staff informed.  

The key guidance is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and to cough or sneeze into disposable tissues, bin them, and wash your hands.

Take normal hygiene precautions in the workplace, in order to assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19, please observe the advice on the ACAS website.

If you are feeling unwell, please follow the government’s advice for reporting illness, recent travel and self-isolation as appropriate.

Whilst there is no specific advice to cancel gatherings, meetings, workshops or events with under 500 attendees, you may wish to consider the circumstances of your gathering - the age of your attendees, how people will be travelling, can you provide a hygienic environment etc.


Third Sector Support

Applications are now open for the Third Sector Resilience Fund (TRSF). Part of a £350m support package by the Scottish Government for the sector in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the TRSF will support organisations who are at risk of closure due to a sharp decrease in income or that are unable to deliver their services directly as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The TSRF is delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and Corra Foundation and it offers charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises grants of £5,000-£100,000. 


Travel & Insurance

Up-to-date travel advice can be found on UK Government’s website.

For travel and for business insurance, we strongly recommend that you check your policy carefully and, particularly as regards business cover, contact your agent or broker to confirm exactly what is covered and under what circumstances.


Prior engagements & Contracts

If you have a prior engagement or contract with another party and are unable to attend/deliver due to factors involving COVID-19 rather than cancelling, try to see if you can negotiate to postpone your involvement.  


Financial difficulties

If you are experiencing or think you might experience severe financial difficulties you might want to know about the Scottish Welfare Fund, which is a crisis grant available through your local authority. Culture Counts noted on Thursday 2 April 2020, that the Scottish Government have allocated a further £45 million to this fund. 

IPSE, the association of independent professionals and the self-employed, has collated a list of key measures announced in the recent UK Government budget to help freelancers during this time including relaxing some of the thresholds for accessing Universal Credit and tax allowances.

Turn 2 US provides advice and support including grants or funds for people suffering hardship, they have a specific Edinburgh Trust.

The Money Advice Service has additional information about sick pay and benefits if you are employed and what you can claim if you are freelance/self-employed. 

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.


General wellbeing and anxiety

The Mental Health Foundation have published a guide about looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak


More resources:

  • Creative Edinburgh have additional information for freelancers, including some tips from working from home. 
  • SCAN have prepared a toolkit for Digital Working, Meetings and Events
  • Textile Scotland has launched COVID-19 bulletins and is collating information on their website. 
  • 2 months free of Adobe Creative Cloud for individuals with an already existing subscription.
  • Leapers, who supports the mental health of the self-employed, have brought out a guide to working from home while under self-quarantine. 
  • Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. 
  • Culture Counts have been compiling a work on the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector.
  • United in Isolation is an information hub for creatives during COVID-19.
  • Creative Entrepreneurs Club (formerly Culture Enterprise Office) have opened access up to their online resources and training. 
  • UKFT is preparing a series of guides to assist UK fashion and textile companies during the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • a-n is compiling information and guidance for artists and arts organisers.
  • The British Business Bank's Financial Hub has a resource guide on support available for small businesses. 
  • Creative Boom are listing digital companies offering free or discounted services to support freelancers. 
  • Find Courses have compiled a list of resources for businesses, including online courses on crisis communications, guidance on remote working, and government resources for employers and employees. 
  • The Audience Agency are offering free webinar on digital skills. 
  • Business Gateway have online tutorials on various aspects of digital marketing and communications. 
  • Make Bank have created supply kit for students currently in self-isolation. 

If you have any other resources you would like to share, please email us at hello@craftscotland.org.

Share this

Veronique  AA Lapeyre
More from this author:

Veronique AA Lapeyre