New £2,000 grants for Bath and North East Somerset freelancers working in the creative sector are available from Dan Norris through Culture West.

Freelancers are at the heart of creativity and productions across the country. Forty seven percent of workers in the world-leading West of England creative industries are freelancers, but they have suffered from a disproportionate lack of investment and government support, with many freelance artists leaving the sector, especially since the pandemic.

Mayor Norris, the mayor of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), is on a mission to back talented West of England artists, technicians, designers, curators, producers, writers and other freelancers to develop their skills or learn a new creative practice with his £200,000 creative fund.

Creative freelancers can apply for grants up to £2,000 to support various activities such as research and development, professional development, creation of new work, collaboration, training, and more. Projects can span up to nine months and should be completed by June 2025.

Mayor Norris recently visited the Egg Theatre where Bath Theatre Academy are busy putting the final touches to their musical Little Shop of Horrors, with the help of ten expert freelancers, ahead of its opening night. He said: “One of the very first decisions I took as Mayor was to back freelancers who had been hammered by the Government during the pandemic.

“Without talented freelancers across the arts, our region’s theatres, high streets, buildings, film and TV and museums would be sorely lacking in creativity.

“But we know that trickle down of investment in organisations and support doesn’t always flow through to freelancers. That’s a big problem – not least in terms of limiting access to our world-class creative industries.

“This new funding underlines my commitment to actors, fashion designers, artists, animators and many others to grow, and get on in our creative industries.”

Mayor Dan Norris has invested more than £1 million supporting over 800 of the region’s creative freelancers since his election in May 2021.

Tessa Cobb, children's author and illustrator, won a grant under a previous version of the mayoral scheme. She said: "The grant from the Mayoral Combined Authority enabled me to take risks and try new processes. Since then, I've created four books which are far more expressive than previous work. I've completed an MA and secured agency representation.

“I'm really grateful to have had this time to try new things that really enhanced my work which is taking me into new markets. "

Phil Gibby, South West area director, Arts Council England, said: "We’re proud to support the future of freelancing with WECA, through our joint Culture West programme.

“Self-employed creatives can be found in every corner of the cultural sector, yet we so often hear they feel like an invisible workforce.

“This cash boost goes some way to recognising their dedication and retaining specialist skills, so that culture can continue to flourish in the West of England for the good of all audiences."

Applications are open at: