Let’s face it, it’s been a pretty challenging few months for our industry.

I’ve heard lots of people saying “It’s fine, everyone is in the same boat”

But are they, I ask?

Admittedly, the Government’s support package is world class and we are very fortunate as a nation to be presented with the programme of activity to help boost our economy at speed post Covid-19. That said, there are also a lot of people out there that are not eligible – especially freelancers and Company Directors that are in fact very exposed and worried about what the future holds.

I have always been employed, working for some of the countries leading retailers in Head of Marketing roles. Last year my husband Rick, daughter Polly and I took the bold decision to launch We are The Allies to fulfil our dream of working together and running our own business as a creative family. We have a network of over 250 creative freelancers that agencies and production companies can book through us – taking away a huge amount of admin pain for them whilst at the same time supporting freelancers, helping them feel part of a team and making sure they get paid within 14 days.

During lock-down, for freelancers we are on hand to offer advice and free consultancy. Whether that’s us reviewing their websites or their portfolios, to simply being there at the end of the phone if they fancy a chat. Rick has set up Friday Zoom calls where creatives can grab a beer and chat about how they are feeling right now as well as collaborate on any proactive projects whilst reviewing what’s happening from a creative point of view in the industry.

We have still been interviewing Allies through video calls so if there are any creatives out there wanting to join the Allies, we ask them to drop us a message through the website or to send me an email so that we can set up a call to review their work and chat about their experience.

From a work perspective, it has has slowed down, fact! Then hasn’t it for everyone?

Clients have postponed or cancelled activity, this having a knock on effect on agencies and then in turn us. Although clients and agencies are able to furlough their teams, freelancers haven’t got this option and are now waiting in anticipation of them being the lucky ones who are able to claim a grant from the HMRC when contacted by mid May – payments then following on in early June. That’s a long time from lockdown for them to get support, with bills and cost of living piling up.

So here’s the thing, freelancers have played an instrumental part in our creative industry for years. They’ve been available at the drop of hat, worked weekends, over delivered and at times unfortunately not got paid on time or treated fairly by our industry.

So I’m putting it out there – when things start to pick up again, please don’t forget about the freelance creative community – there has never been a time like this when they’ve needed you the most – please give back and include them in your plans to kick start things post Covid-19.

When we launched Allies last April, in hindsight you could argue what shit timing to launch a new business when in year one you’ll hit the crisis we are living through today. But then my view is this, if we can survive this, stick together, we will survive anything in business – so I approach the coming months with passion, ambition and hope. Mainly hope, hope that agencies and clients will not forget the freelance community who have served them well alongside their in-house teams for many years leading up to this.

Pavan Riyat-Ward

Founder and Managing Director at We are The Allies