WHILE the government has provided significant financial support to many business sectors to help them through the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are still some that have been left behind and find themselves in serious difficulty trying to support their businesses and families, due to restrictions that are depriving them of clients.
One such sector linked to the hospitality and leisure industries, is the creative world of photography and videography, with many based in Warrington.
Across the country many thousands are self-employed and without studio premises most fail to qualify for the support packages on offer. There are also a large number of companies and associations that supply services and products to those smaller businesses. There is no umbrella trade organisation to support them and as a consequence, they tend to be lone voices finding it difficult to draw attention to the magnitude of the problem.
Those involved in this sector include wedding, events, schools, family portrait, pet, equine and commercial photography and videography. The severe restrictions on weddings and events, combined with social distancing requirements, has decimated their businesses through cancellations and significant loss of income. There were over 200,000 weddings in the UK in 2019 and even if only half of those had a professional photographer at an average cost of £1,200 that’s lost revenue in 2020 in the region of £120 million for wedding photography alone!
In an attempt to bring this sector to the attention of central government a group of businesses and trade associations has formed a coalition of suppliers, associations, small businesses and sole traders that can help bring focus on their problems.
One of those backing the coalition is Woolston-based retired photographer Jim Hunter who said: “As a retired local photographer my thoughts are with photography industry friends whose incomes have been devastated by cancellations as a result of the restrictions placed on weddings, events and family gatherings by this pandemic. With virtually no government financial support to date, I know that many have been forced to look for alternative sources of income to help them pay mortgages and feed their families. Hopefully, this coalition, headed up by leaders in the industry, including two personal friends, will bring some much-needed relief.”
A statement from the key figures volunteering their time and resources to make this happen has been circulated nationwide through social media, clients and association memberships.
“This coalition has been formed through the co-operation of Photography and Videography Associations, trade that supplies to the industry, training organisations and others who supply/support the UK professional photography and videography industries. The mission is to be a single voice to government at a time of great need in our industry with a specific action plan to contact government & your MP’s with the concerns along with the potential resolutions.”
Thousands have joined the coalition and have all committed to send letters, not emails, to their local MP’s and members of the cabinet with the aim of these dropping in postboxes today, Monday 12th October. It is hoped that several thousand individual letters all arriving within a short period will draw sufficient attention to bring focus, no pun intended, and positive action.