Actors Benevolent Fund Of NSW Establishes COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund

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Actors Benevolent Fund Of NSW Establishes COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund

Australian artists and arts workers have never been more in need of support than during the COVID-19 Pandemic. With a dramatic loss of income across the sector and a lack of understanding from Government about the nature of arts work, many industry members are experiencing a devastating financial and emotional toll.

Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW, in partnership with the SB&W Foundation, has established a substantial COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund in response to the challenges faced by members of the entertainment industry, following the closure of theatres, and cancellation of film and television productions.

With seed funding of the SB&W Foundation, augmented by significant donations from City of Sydney, Ros Horin & Joe Skrzynski's Sky Foundation, The Girgensohn Foundation, and other private donors, ABF NSW has the capacity to assist actors, directors, designers and theatre workers resident in NSW and ACT. The Emergency Fund helps with essential expenses such as car registration, medical costs, household expenses, bills and other unexpected items.

"As soon as the closure of theatres began, the ABF NSW Committee knew we had to come up with a response to help our colleagues. The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund has already helped industry members with food vouchers and small cash grants, and thanks to the generosity of our many donors we have the capacity to provide assistance for the long-haul" says Bruce Spence, Chairman of Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW. "We are also grateful to the Sydney Theatre Company for encouraging private donations from their subscribers."

Peter Lowry OAM, Chairman of SB&W Foundation adds, "The SB&W Foundation is delighted to have been a seed funder of the ABF NSW's COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. To be able to support the people who provide us with so much enjoyment through the arts when they are most in need is of the utmost importance at this time."

"We are deeply disappointed that those in power have ignored the plight of those who create the very forms of entertainment that they, and the rest of the country, are consuming in this time of lockdown. It may take a long time for the live performance industry to recover, and ABF NSW and the Funds in other states will be here to support those in need for as long as it takes" says Spence.

"For over 70 years The Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW has provided vital support to members of our industry in need. At this unbelievably difficult time, as so many of our colleagues find themselves falling through the cracks of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs, please remember the ABF is there to provide some relief for those who need it most. If that's you please get in touch - the ABF are waiting to hear from you" said ABF Ambassador Simon Burke AO.

The Fund respects the confidentiality of those it supports, but some of the early recipients of the Emergency Assistance Fund describe how it has assisted them.

"[We] are so very grateful for the generous emergency assistance offered to us by the Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW. The food vouchers and essential expense help for our car registration is an incredible relief."

"We are very touched and ever so grateful for this very substantial contribution in this strange time. We do not take for granted the extent to which you have been able to help us, especially considered how many people must be in need right now."

Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW has been providing support to members of the performing arts community for over 75 years and in that time has never seen members of the industry in such desperate need. The Fund provides regular support through an annual grant program, one-off grants and no-interest loans. The ABF administers the STA Fund supporting mental health for performing arts workers, and the Victoria Longley Cancer Fund. ABF NSW supports actors, theatre crew and other theatre workers, whose home base is within NSW or ACT.

For those facing financial difficulty, you can apply now for immediate assistance. Visit our website for full details. For those outside NSW and ACT contact the Fund in your state for assistance.

If you are able to assist, please consider making a donation to Actors Benevolent Fund of NSW. All donations of $2.00 and over are tax-deductible.


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