Why are we doing this?
NextUp is a platform that is determined to support comedians in as many ways as possible – from showcasing their work and giving them a revenue stream, to free rehearsal space and funds for community projects, comics and their amazing work has always been at our core. Because of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent promotion of social distancing and cancellation of live events, the comedy circuit has been shut down overnight. This has killed most comedians’ main revenue sources and rendered them unemployed overnight. We want to limit the negative effects of this as much as possible, with the help of those that love comedy as much as we do.
Who can donate?
Anyone! Those in the industry who have the means to support their colleagues, family or friends, NextUp Comedy subscribers or just those that love comedy and want to help during this difficult time.
What is the application process?
The application form can be found here. We asks a range of questions to assess both the severity, urgency and credibility of every request.
How are recipients chosen?
We’re trying to allocate money to as many people as possible and the applications are prioritised in terms of severity of need and urgency.
How much is distributed at a time?
We’ve started by allocating £10,000 per week to be paid out; this is because we know the crisis may go on for a while, so we want to make sure we still have enough funds to support those that may need it in a couple of months. That number may change, however; we’re remaining flexible so that we can be reactive whilst things change so quickly, both for the better, and worse. The government may step up and help freelancers, for example, so we may be able to adjust the distributed amount accordingly. In contrast, if no further freelance measures are put in place nationally, we know that the next few weeks may drain savings, leaving many on the breadline and so in need of higher levels of support.
Who chooses who is a recipient of the donations?
We have an internal team of three who go through the applications and approve requests; an anonymised version of the allocations is then reported to an independent external eye, who works within the industry, to confirm fairness and transparency.
Is there a maximum/minimum recipient amount?
There isn’t, no, though we are trying to help as many people as possible whilst making sure funds last, so inevitably that means the amounts aren’t huge.
Is there a cut-off point for donation requests?
Thursday at midday each week will mark the cut-off point for that week’s donations, so that we can send support consistently on Friday. Anyone that doesn’t get a request in before then, don’t worry! Your request will still be entered for the following week’s distribution.
Is any advice offered to those that need support?
Yes – we’re keeping an eye out for the most helpful links to government and other support and sharing them in emails with applicants as well as on www.hecklethevirus.com. We’d highly recommend Martin Lewis’s comprehensive advice which you can find here.
However, we know we aren’t experts, we’re just a comedy company trying to support the comedy community, so we always recommend taking expert advice!
When do we allocate funds?
We allocate funds every Friday, on a weekly basis.
How long will we be doing this for?
As long as we can! As we all know, the duration of current circumstances is unknown, so we will keep this initiative going for as long as we can in order to support those comics in need at every stage.
If I’ve had a grant, can I re-apply for further support?
Yes – as the weekly amounts are small and in accordance with urgency and severity, and we know bills come out at different times, there will be weeks with greater and lesser need, so please do re-apply if you need to.