A UK-wide community of independents and freelancers is set to hold its third annual ‘Freelance Heroes Day’ in a bid to support Wales’ 80,000 freelancers.
On Saturday, 16th May the group, Freelance Heroes, will hold #FreelanceHeroesDay to unite the self-employed community and champion the individual, with this year’s theme focusing on the person behind the freelancer.
As the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme begins to be rolled out earlier than planned there is a growing concern that the body of workers that make up roughly 15% of UK employment may be the first financially at risk, with many seeing their incomes stop overnight.
To foster greater collaboration and support networks, freelancers, and those who work with freelancers, are being asked to share their stories using the hashtag #FreelanceHeroesDay.
From the copywriters and creatives through to the graphic designers and events managers, #FreelanceHeroesDay will highlight the work individuals are doing and how they have made a difference to those around them.
The topic has trended at number one in the UK on Twitter in previous years and the organisers hope that with many people currently working and socialising almost exclusively online, they can repeat this feat, and support more people that may be struggling to adapt to the new normal.
Although the self-employed are seen as having greater freedoms in terms of when and how they work, the method of employment also comes with far higher risks and uncertainty.
Cofounder of Freelance Heroes, Annie Browne, says it is due to this risk that freelancers and the solo-self employed need support now more than ever: “We’ve seen a stark divide in outcomes amongst our freelance community. There are those in the group that have seen their calendars wiped empty seemingly overnight, whilst others are struggling to cope with the demand from businesses looking to make use of those already accustomed to remote working.
“It’s also important to remember that unlike those in formal employment, for many freelancers if there is no-one to invoice at the end of the month then their income stops immediately. Whilst the income support scheme will eventually help, there are many that will be considering how they pay their mortgage long-term, as the uncertainty and knock-on effect of COVID restrictions continues across the year.
“It’s why we feel freelancers and the self-employed need to rally together now more than ever. Since founding the group in 2016, one of the many things we have learnt is that there are huge benefits in belonging to a community, and we feel that championing and growing these supportive networks now can make a real difference across the country.”
One freelancer who has benefited from being a part of the online community is Jen Harding, an illustrator and owner of Danger Doodles based in Caerphilly.
Jen said: “Having a safe and supportive place to ask questions, share advice, and network with other likeminded people has been incredibly helpful. Knowing that someone else in the group has either had the same problem as you or is going through it themselves, means you always have someone to help solve things with.”
Freelance Heroes was founded in 2016 with the aim of connecting freelancers across the country, so they can share advice, guidance, resources and experience. From its humble beginnings, the group has become a national community, holding events and meetups across the UK.
More information about how freelancers and the self-employed can take part or get support from Freelance Heroes day, can be found by searching #FreelanceHeroesDay or going to www.freelance-heroes.com