ACAVA COVID-19 Hardship Fund Guidance

Last updated: 7 May 2020


We recognise that studio holders might need financial support in the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike other organisations, ACAVA operates with limited staff capacity and no cash reserves, therefore, we are unable to offer blanket discounts on studio fees or cash to studio holders unless we receive a reduction from landlords.

ACAVA Hardship Fund
We are fully aware of the financial challenges that studio holders are facing. In response to the situation we have established, and aim to grow, a hardship fund to support studio holders keep their studios by offering temporary discounts on studio licence fees. If we can successfully grow the fund, we will offer longer periods and different types of support wherever possible. We hope this can become a permanent scheme for the future and are actively seeking external support to contribute more resource to it.

This is a very modest fund at this time that will not meet all requests for support.

As the fund is currently very small, and demand is high, please do not apply for support unless you genuinely need it.

The fund currently offers two types of support, all applications will be considered for both.

1. Licence fee relief
Successful applicants will be granted a discounted percentage of their license fee for a set period. You will not be expected to pay this back later.

2. Licence fee deferral
Successful applicants will be offered a payment deferral on a percentage of their license fee for a set period. At the end of that time we will be in touch to agree an affordable repayment plan.

How are we going to grow the fund?

  • This small fund has been enabled by a short-term rent discount from one of our landlords - at one building
  • We have sent a letter to all our landlords lobbying them for rent relief
  • Maintaining discussions with all our landlords about reduced rents
  • Discussing rent and rates relief with local authorities
  • Negotiating with our bank
  • We will soon launch a Just Giving fundraising campaign
  • Submitted a funding application to Arts Council England which asks for funds that would significantly grow the hardship fund

The application process and decisions
We have created a simple online form that is quick and easy to complete. While we ask you to keep your responses brief, please include as much relevant information as possible, particularly relating to your loss of income and changes to personal circumstances. You can access the form here:


Who can apply?
The fund is open to any current ACAVA studio holder in any of our buildings. All applicants must be up to date on licence fee payments.

Is there a deadline?
The fund is open for applications at any time. They will be assessed on the final Thursday of each month, so please submit your application by midday on the final Wednesday of the month.

A panel of ACAVA staff will make the final decision on each application and decisions are non-negotiable. We do not have the capacity for lengthy discussions regarding unsuccessful applications.

If my application is unsuccessful can I reapply?
Yes. We anticipate that there will be many credible applications that we cannot support in this first iteration of the fund. We wish you good luck with your application should you decide to submit one.

Who should I contact to discuss the fund?
Please contact our Studios Team: studios (at) acava (dot) org