Who we have helped
Backup grants have brought help and hope to industry members and their families during some of their darkest hours.
Some recipients have chosen to remain private while others have stepped forward to tell what kind of impact the grants have had on their lives.
Nikoma, Sound Engineer
My name is Nikoma. I have been a sound engineer for over 20 years and in this time have met and worked with some amazing people in this industry.
In 2016 whilst on tour I had an immense headache after a 24 hour flight straight into a 2 hour show 45 minutes later. The headache lasted a few days and then out of nowhere the centre of my vision on the right hand side started getting extremely cloudy.
After two weeks of this not clearing up I ended up going to a doctor in Japan, who said after some tests that it was optic neuritis and that I may have to consider multiple sclerosis.
After getting home and whilst working on a corporate event, I was loading in and I just had a feeling as though I was drunk even though I had not touched a drop of alcohol for ages. This obviously was weird and worrying and had me looking into potential causes quite seriously.
I am usually a calm and level headed person, which is probably a reason why I was always in work, however this did really have me worried.
After a few tests my neurologist confirmed that it indeed was Multiple sclerosis. After the diagnosis I continued to work as much as I could going straight into an arena tour with Paul Weller and then some summer festivals. I then did my last show at the Royal Albert hall in December 2019 with a choir.
Since then I have not really been able to keep up with the rigorous schedule of doing live events, which subsequently caused a massive dent In my finances. This is where all of the people at Backup have really stepped in to help.
I cannot say thank you enough for the support that I have received. I was beginning to get resentful towards an industry that I felt had taken so much from me, in terms of my time etc, but this [Backup support] had really made me appreciate the different ways that the industry can actually give back.
Thank you back up and thank you to everyone that contributes [to Backup].
“Thank you for all your help and support. I quite literally owe Backup Tech my life, things could have gone a very different direction very easily. I am starting to have faith in the system again, and it is thanks to you. I’m no longer a number on a sheet, a function and not a person. Life can only get better from here!” – Anonymous Freelancer
Colin, Sound Engineer
I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your initial call, and thank you for understanding my position.
The subsequent sessions with your Counsellor were a real triumph. A kind and selfless intervention by Backup and the therapy grant to support me when I was struggling emotionally gave me the opportunity for counselling, despite my own financial restrictions, and has undoubtedly changed my life.
I now feel I have the resilience again to get out there and tackle life’s challenges again. Professionally, I am doing equally well! March onwards is spectacularly busy and I am positive about the future of my freelance career.
Once again thank you so much for everything, and please keep up the vitally important work you are doing!
It’s taken me sometime to write this since receiving Backup’s generous grant to support me during my cancer treatment. I wanted to tell you how you have helped me at a time when I had nowhere else to turn. Family became an obscure word once lockdown kicked in and I was isolated for months on end spiralling in mental anxiety because of my bills. My emotions froze, overwhelmed by my illness and worry. I was stuck in a dark place with nowhere to turn.
My wife found Backup Tech online and I must say I was very sceptical when she told me about it. Why would someone help us no-bodies in the industry I said to myself. There’s always a soul destroying catch to these things I thought. I was wrong. Backup is fantastic from start to finish. John ’s genuine advice and support made the form filling an easy process and I started to feel optimistic as he re-assured me along the way, “go ahead and make the application” he would say. It really was quick and easy. I cannot express how helpful the grant was in allowing me time to recover from extensive treatment. I was given a moment to breath and get perspective. My family and I are so grateful that Backup exists. Who would have thought the freelancers had a place to belong, a family to embrace in hard times. In years to come we will remember Backup tech as the family who came through when we needed it most. Thanks for creating such a wonderful charity, (and here comes the cliché) “thanks for backing me up”.
We would like to once again take this opportunity to thank you and the team at Backup and our industry colleagues from the depths of our hearts for impacting on our lives in such a tremendous and kind way.
Forever Grateful, Arron, Steesh and family.
I’m immensely grateful to Backup for their very kind and indispensible help and support. Thanks to a Backup health care grant I can be confident to continue with my work and minimise any future physio problems that could prevent me from making my living. Thank you so much, Backup
David Walker Collins
I have been in the live music industry for nearly forty years as a professional. I have many jobs and roles within that time, I have had good years and bad ones, many highs and, thankfully, not too many lows. Not until 2020 and Coronavirus. This past almost eighteen months has been the toughest of my career and I know I am not alone by any means in saying that. The loss of work and income has been devastating to many and the government help scant. Backup has come to my aid twice and I could not be more grateful for the grants that I have received which have made a huge difference to my family and myself when we needed it. Even more gratifying and humbling is the knowledge that funds raised have come from my fellow professionals in our brilliant industry. Thank you to everyone who is a part of this amazing organisation Backup and your legacy will live on amongst those you have so generously helped
David, Tour Manager /Production Manager, Concert
Thank you Backup for the grant that I have received. This payment will make a huge difference to me and my family, I have two teenagers at home, by helping us meet household bills and expenses. It comes at a very important moment as I reach almost a year without paid employment in the industry that I love, an industry that sadly seems to have been ignored by those in charge. It is especially welcome as it comes from my peers and those involved in our wonderful live music and entertainment business.
Anonymous, Lighting Op/Vision Control, TV
Thank you so much for the Hardship Fund Grant. I cannot tell you how much this means to me and my family at this time. After 11 months of being excluded from government schemes and all work cancelled, it means so much to receive this from the industry I have loved and worked in for 22 years. I’d like all the sponsors/donors to know how much their support means, and the difference it makes to lives – I feel like I matter again
Anonymous, Television and Film Worker
The Television & Film Industry has brought many changes to my life. I’m sure many can relate, whether from only viewing the end result of what can sometimes be years of hard work, or from being part of the many teams that come together, to create a thriving entertainment industry.
Backup – The Technical Entertainment Charity has shown me again just how supportive this industry really can be. In a time of need when many are left with an uncertain future, Backup has done it’s best to help and provide what it can, showing that where there is a will, there is a way.
My first interaction with Backup has been in the form of receiving a much-needed lifeline of financial support [Hardship Fund], in uncertain financial times. I’m aware that not everyone is in the same position, which is why when the time comes, I will be making sure to give back, which is what Backup has shown me, that it is all about.
Anonymous, Production Coordinator, Events
Wow! I am truly thankful to Backup for the [Hardship Fund] grant. There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety around where mine and my community’s future will go with this never-ending pandemic, but I am incredibly thankful for the support and financial generosity. It has given me the chance to take a breath and pay off some building dept that has been keeping me awake at night. Thank you all so very much!
Anonymous, Sound Engineer
Thank you so much for the award of this [Hardship Fund] grant. It really means allot that organisations like Backup can put together such great support for our Industry’s crew. I look forward to a time when I’m in a position to pay this forward.
Nick Jevons, Creative Director, Concert & Events
I am writing this to say many thanks for my very generous [Hardship Fund] grant
It came at a time when I thought I was on my own with no help, but Backup made me feel that I wasn’t alone and that there were people out there who had my back.
It has been an extremely difficult year and looking like another difficult year ahead.
I have worked in the industry for over 30 years and I have never regretted it at all, I have met lifelong friends and had a creative and fulfilling career.
This grant means such a lot to myself and my family
So thank you very much indeed.
James, Tour Manager
This has been a very challenging time for so many and it has been hard to see so many of my friends and colleges struggling. I myself have been hit pretty hard by the pandemic, made no easier by being one of the many to receive no financial support as a self-employed worker from the government. The financial aid [Hardship Fund] Backup has provided me during this difficult time has been such a relief and I am very grateful for all their hard work, campaigning and support to those in our industry
Just wanted to say a massive thank you for my [Hardship Fund] grant, it couldn’t have come at a better time. All my contracts were cancelled as soon as the first lockdown started and nothing was happening in my usual avenues of work. I wasn’t eligible for any help from the government for the freelances grants for unknown reasons… I was down to my last few hundred pounds of savings and terrified how I was going to pay my rent and bills – which is when my landlord decided he was going to up my rent by £300 a month!! I fought him and managed to get him down slightly but it’s still increasing by £200 a month.
I had to re-train into the care sector which took about 3 months before I got to earning stage, and as we all know that doesn’t pay well, and all I got was bank work at about 2 days a week which were often cancelled so I was earning about £300 a month, less than what my rent is. Luckily I’m a part of a mutual aid food bank I help set up, which I had to use myself so I could eat. So when this grant came through I cried as it meant I could buy some chocolate and know I could put my heating on and just not have to worry so much. It was the start of things looking up as I was then offered a media contract the month after and have been working since so things are going well again!
I’ve never felt such community and solidarity than when i got the letter saying I was being helped, it restored my faith in the industry and humanity so thank you so much!
It meant I didn’t have to turn my back on the industry I’ve worked in for the last 10 years, which I love.
Thanks for the award [Hardship Fund], very much needed and has helped me to continue for a bit longer at this torrid time. Again, many thank it has been a lifesaver, for our industry.
Wow, I am so very grateful to Backup for this financial assistant [Hardship Fund] they have afforded me.
I know there are many people like myself in the Theatre/Events industries that are currently in the same situation who have had no work all year and little to no financial help, in what has been an extremely challenging and difficult year for all.
I really can’t thank Backup enough for this lifeline and certainly didn’t expect a grant, this money will go a long way in aiding me financially and in addition will also bring me some piece of mind and hope for the future of our industry.
Once again, I can’t thank Backup enough
Embry Koehler, Lighting Technician – Live Events
Thank you so much, this [Hardship Fund] is going to help me pay my bills that come out in February/March time (all my big bills come out at the same time) and I am so grateful for receiving it. I was getting quite worried at not being able to pay my bills and getting into debt, and this will definitely help to prevent that, which is amazing.
I can’t thank you enough and will definitely be supporting Backup any way I can.
Thank you so much for your gift of support [Hardship Fund], it’s such a relief to know I can get through the rest of this year and Christmas in the knowledge that I can cover all my bills and rent. Thank you, the Backup team and donors for this generosity. The most important thing for me is to keep my roof over my head in London to have the best chance of picking up work as and when the industry recovers. However, if things don’t change soon, I may have to move back to Cornwall to stay with my parents which will most certainly be detrimental to my career prospects.
This grant will allow me to hold on for at least another 3 months which is a vast improvement on my outlook from where I was a couple of weeks ago.
Thank you so much again.
What an un-expected and devastating year for our industry. I never imagined that coming into 2020 that we’d find ourselves in the position we now face. Having the help and support from the Hardship Fund has meant
I can keep going and hope that we can return to what we all love very soon.
I can’t begin to thank the trustees for this humbling support [Hardship Fund] . I never dreamt I would ever be in need like this, but the unfortunate circumstances we all find ourselves
in have meant that things are not what they once were. Let’s all hope this is short term and we can get back to doing what we all love. I will, when in a position to do so, be making
a donation back to the trust of the full amount to enable it to continue with the amazing work and support it gives to our industry.
Once again, many thanks for all the help.
Thanks so much for this, great bit of news on a Friday.
This [Hardship Fund] is the only piece of support I’ve received so far, I’m very grateful for the work you guys are doing.
Jonathan Rouse – Sadly, despite undergoing a 2nd round of treatment, Jonathan died in May 2020 leaving behind his wife and two young children.
I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia on New Year’s Eve. This obviously came as a huge shock to my wife and me. We were told that I have a good chance of being cured but that it is a long process. The doctors said it would be necessary to take a minimum of 6 months off work.
As a freelancer, my only source of income involves me being out on jobs, whether it is in a TV studio or out on a world tour and not being able to do this for months to come or having any other side-line income was a huge concern.
My wife and I also have two young children. We have not been able to put aside any savings. Knowing that the money owed from the previous jobs would soon run dry and the realisation that during my long treatment, my future income would obviously be zero has added even more financial pressure to our situation. We approached Backup to see if they would be able to help.
We were thrilled when Backup came through and helped us out with a significant amount of money to help us through these difficult times.
My treatment involves being an in-patient for about a month at a time, then home for a few days, then back, so I really am unable to work, and the money allows my wife to spend a lot of time with me as constant support.
With the support of the Backup Charity together with its associated Light Relief Charity, everything has been made easier and my family and I are very grateful.
On the 1st of march this year, I was involved in a freak indoor climbing accident, I inverted and hit a hold on the wall upside-down backwards. I was rushed to A&E and after a full body CT it was discovered I had fractured part of my L4 Vertebrae.
I was put in a back brace and after a week I was released to recover at home.
This is when the realisation of the severity of my injury hit me. How would I get by for the time I need to be off and how would I fund the rehabilitation I need to recover properly and be able to work in this industry again?
I found myself really stressing about the situation.
That’s when a very good friend of mine mentioned backup to me, I contacted them explaining the situation and they quickly responded to me and set my mind at ease.
Backup along with Light Relief awarded me a grant to help me with my living costs and rehab.
This has allowed me to get the rehabilitation needed, working with my physio I have a well-structured rehab plan that is constantly updated to deal with my needs and to ensure progress is being made.
With them I have managed to get my pain to a manageable level and start rebuilding all my muscle loss and imbalances from being in the brace.
In just over 6 months I have managed to go from being barely able to walk to being able to do a few days’ work servicing moving lights and some console programming and operating.
I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of backup and its Trustees and Donors as well as the support from all my friends across the industry. Without their help I certainly wouldn’t be making the progress I am now. It’s something I never will forget. It’s difficult to put in to words how much Backup’s support means to me.
It can be a difficult industry to be in when dealing with medical issues, especially when most of our work involves long days standing and sitting or heavy lifting.
The work Backup is doing to support technicians in their time of need is fantastic.
I will be doing anything I can to support them in the future!
I am truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the Backup grant. It took a lot of courage for me to apply for financial assistance, as I am not usually one who asks for help. My diagnosis of prostate cancer has made me think long and hard about my life and the people I love and who love me.
As part of all this contemplation, I have also realised that the financial mess that has developed around me while I have earned no income over these last six months has made me very, very anxious. This has, in turn, been a worry for my partner and has made our worries about my medical condition worse and worse.
Backup’s extra-ordinarily generous grant, supported by Light Relief, will go a very long way to alleviating my financial problems and will give us the chance to take a deep breath and help me to get back to normal.
Thank you all so very much!
I don’t know of another industry where your friends one day are also your colleagues, employers, employees, or your competition at different times. We are part of one big fantastic family, supporting each other through the good times, and also the bad. In my worst days, the financial support I received was an amazing help that I can never repay, but more than that, just knowing there were people who understood I was going through something and wanted to help, whether they knew me before or not, is something I’m forever grateful for.
Getting the help from you has ensured that I haven’t given up on my career and it feels like I’ve had a little bit of magical dust sprinkled over me and boy did I need it!
Mark Pritchard – Sadly, despite stem cell surgery and further chemotherapy, Mark died in January 2018 leaving behind his wife and two young children.
In October 2016 I was diagnosed with high grade non-Hodgkins lymphoma of the central nervous system and brain which came as a real shock to me and my family. I had gone to the hospital to investigate a back pain whilst working on tour with Level 42.
Upon diagnosis, I had to stop working on the tour, cancel all future work and submit to rounds of chemotherapy followed by the usual tests and checkups. I have just finished my fourth round of chemotherapy but it looks as if more treatment will be necessary.
At the start of all this, apart from the daunting prospect of treatment, I and my wife and two children faced a real financial battle with no income for at least six months. What few savings we had would rapidly diminish and a tax bill was looming.
I had heard of Backup through a friend and got in touch. The Trustees of the backup charity stepped forward and worked with Light Relief charity who both awarded us an incredibly generous grant which gave us a lifeline and we feel very humbled and lucky to have been helped in this way.
We are amazed at the generosity of our industry in times of trouble and anything I can do to help the charity to raise funds and to tell everyone in our industry how important it is that we all support Backup and help others in need.
This is the kindest gesture we’ve ever received from anybody and we are so so grateful beyond words, please thank the trustees and all those involved in the Charity in funding it. Without any doubt whatsoever this grant will put both our minds at ease over the coming months knowing that our finances won’t fall behind & most importantly that we can keep a roof over our heads!
The Charity board came to our rescue last year when my partner was diagnosed with Lymphoma shortly after our daughter was born. As a full time employed technician and as a father and sole carer for the family there was no margin for anything else to fall apart around us and having financial worries thrown into the mix was simply too much to cope with.
Through their experience and humanity, the Charity completely understood the challenges we were likely to face and gave us a grant as a means to ensure our financial security during what turned out to be an extremely tough year.
The generosity and support meant that all of our energy could be focused on my partner’s recovery & our family’s well-being instead of worrying about bills or food or rent.
Thank you – without the assistance of backup I would likely be homeless. Because of mental health problems I have struggled to find and keep work – this is not a forgiving industry when it comes to long term health problems. My financial situation is dire, but backup has given me some breathing room to try and concentrate on some sort of recovery.
I’d like to write about how the money from the Charity helped me, as I am a carer for my father and I work in a costume department. My father had to go into hospital but unfortunately at this time I also had a breakdown.
Backup – our Technical Entertainment Charity has helped me get back on my feet with the money and the full support they have given me has been brilliant. Thank you.
I really don’t know what to say. This is incredible. Thank you so much.
This will definitely lift the burden for a few months. As I go in for a stem cell transplant on the 15th March for 3-4 weeks this help couldn’t be more timely.
I cannot thank everybody at Backup enough. I do not know where I would be, without all of help and support that backup has given me. It enabled me to recover, without worrying about money