The Film and TV Charity is on a journey to develop the support it offers people working behind the scenes.
Our workforce is increasingly made up of freelancers and temporary contractors whose work can be precarious and uncertain. On top of this, many active industry professionals also face additional barriers related to their background or identity, which further tests their professional, economic, emotional and psychological resilience.
As a result, we took another step in 2020, to redefine our purpose to include a new goal:
“to promote equality, diversity and inclusion … by reducing, preventing and discouraging discrimination and the resulting barriers in the film, television or moving image industry.”
Barriers and opportunities
We recognise that not everyone in our industry starts in the same position – with equivalent advantages, resources or opportunities. There are all sorts of barriers tied up with background and identity – barriers that have nothing to with talent and skill.
These can have an impact on career progress and wellbeing, on the ability to ‘break through’ into the industry, and of course, to stay in it. The health and success of our industry depends on nurturing our workforce, and respecting and valuing natural talent — wherever it comes from. The skills shortages of the last few years make the case for protecting and retaining talent even more compelling.
The shocking reality of 2020
The events of 2020, from COVID to the murder of George Floyd, gave us a renewed sense of urgency. It became clear while setting up and running two COVID funds, that the effects of the pandemic were not being felt in the same way across the whole workforce.
Those with less financial resilience, and those facing challenges connected to racism, caring responsibilities, socio-economic background and location were among those disproportionately affected. Those facing multiple barriers were worst affected of all. We now know that the support we provide to individuals and the interventions we make to drive structural change must be holistic if they are to affect real life experiences.
Anti-racism as a priority
The murder of George Floyd and the ensuing conversations among colleagues of colour made it clear that there was an urgent need to prioritise anti-racism in our broader efforts towards equity.
In 2020, we were joined on secondment by Sasha Salmon, an expert in anti-racism work with an extensive background in Government and civil society. Over six months, Sasha helped us review our processes and policies. With her recommendations, we committed to ringfencing 30% of new grant spend for clients of colour. We also now ringfence 15% for disabled beneficiaries and will review whether to ringfence for other groups in future.
Impact Partnership Programme
We’ve committed to investing £1m over 3 years through our Impact Partnership Programme, which will support the growth and sustainability of community-led organisations providing support for colleagues of colour. We believe that the expertise and insights needed to drive anti-racism exist within communities of colour and so the best response is to back them.