A £2.5 million relief fund set up to help TV and film workers affected by the coronavirus lockdown has been launched.

The UK’s entertainment industry has been battered by the pandemic, with production halted leaving many out of work.

The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund will offer assistance to those hit hardest by the outbreak.

It was created by The Film And TV Charity in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) and is supported by £2.5 million in donations from Netflix, the BFI, BBC Studios, BBC Content, WarnerMedia and others.

Workers have two weeks to apply for the fund, organisers said, with one-off grants of between £500 and £2,500 awarded based on need.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said: “Unprecedented times call for an exceptional response. The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund is unique, time-limited and designed to provide financial support where the need is most acute.

“Our systems will highlight applicants who are experiencing particular distress and our experienced team will respond to those red flags with personal follow-up calls.”

Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, said: “We know a huge number of freelance professionals in our community have been some of the hardest hit during the coronavirus crisis, so we are delighted that the fund is now open for applications.

“We are also incredibly thankful for the generosity shown by industry partners and individuals who have stepped in so far to support their colleagues.”

Organisers of the fund cited a survey they conducted which suggested 93% of freelancers in the industry are no longer working due to the pandemic.

Nearly half of those asked said they were worried about meeting their basic needs including food and accommodation, according to the survey.

Applications for the one-off grants can be made via The Film And TV Charity’s website at https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/covid-19-help-advice/covid-19-relief-fund