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  • Whisky Glass by Crafts Council Maker Elin Isaksson Glass. Photo: Shannon Tofts

Crafts Council survey of impact of COVID-19 on makers

What you said and what we are doing 

The Crafts Council surveyed 600 makers and held two zoom Maker Meet-ups to understand the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their business and practice.

This is what makers said and what we are doing in response. 

Access to funding and practical support 

  • Makers need clarity on what funding is available and access to support 
  • 60% reported loss of income of over £5,000 in the next six months
  • 60% have little or no reserves in their business 
  • 63% can't make new work due to studio closures, material shortages, family commitments 
  • 68% wanted regular Crafts Council updates with practical measures to support them 

We are 

  • Continually updating the advice on our website with information about both government and Arts Council England (ACE) measures 
  • Drafting a summary of all the key issues and questions raised in the survey and will provide a jargon-free Q&A document with support from other business and legal experts to be shared online 
  • A third zoom meeting to support makers considering applying to the ACE Emergency Package individuals fund 
  • Working with Creative Industries Federation (CIF), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and ACE to get clarity on the support currently available 

Access to selling opportunities 

  • Makers reported that the closure of galleries (71%), markets and fairs (64%) is having the biggest impact on their business
  • 60% reported cancellation of teaching, classes and workshops 
  • 26% reported loss of work from other sectors e.g. fashion 

We are 

  • Launching our study of The Market for Craft at the end of May, full of trend data about consumers, routes to market and how interest in craft and the market for it have increased 
  • Promoting #artistsupportpledge which works on a simple premise to stimulate sales. Makers post using the hashtag and once they reach £1000 of sales they pledge to buy £200 work from another maker
  • Starting work with galleries, fairs and markets to understand the impact of Covid-19 closures on business, plans for rescheduling events and what intervention might be needed to rebuild the craft market

Advocacy 

  • The Government announcements don’t yet help limited companies with a single director paid in dividends; makers need self-employed support based on 80% of turnover not profit; there is very limited appetite for loans, the delay in financial support will cause further hardship, shared studios limit the opportunity to access Business Rates support 
  • ACE support is limited to culturally funded activity and will not help many makers
  • 92% said their biggest priority is for the Crafts Council to lobby government on their behalf

We are 

  • Regularly talking to DCMS to highlight craft sector and business needs, to inform their work on Government announcements 
  • Sharing the summary with the DIT (Department for International Trade), CIF, ACE, the All Parliamentary Group on Design and Innovation, What Next? and other advocacy bodies to promote the needs of sole traders
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