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Record amount paid out to support actors with children in 2017/18, charity reveals

Photo: Brian Martin The Actors’ Children’s Trust says it is reaching more actor-parents, but that its grants reflect the struggle faced by parents working in theatre. Photo: Brian Martin
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A charity dedicated to providing financial support to actors with children has paid out its most money ever in 2017/18, with the organisation claiming it underlines “the struggle faced by actor parents to stay in the profession”.

The charity, the Actors’ Children’s Trust, also warns that the number of actors leaving the sector after becoming parents is “colossal”.

In the year to April 1, 2018, the charity awarded £740,000 in grants to actor-parents in need of support, up from £360,000 in the previous year.

Robert Ashby, executive director of the Actors’ Children’s Trust, said the charity was reaching more actor-parents.

“We have been using every possible means of getting to them. Twitter has been really good and we have got Equity branches doing stuff and agents emailing their clients – anything to reach more people,” he said, adding: “It looks like the number of actors leaving the profession when they become parents is colossal.”

The charity awards money for a number of causes, including covering childminding costs. It can also cover the costs of babysitting to attend castings, and other things such as equipment needed for children with disabilities.

“Us paying for things like that makes life possible,” Ashby said.

ACT is funded through legacies from showbusiness figures including playwright Noel Coward. There is no maximum amount that can be applied for.

Ashby said he was expecting the charity to spend the same amount in the current year.

The news comes as campaign group Parents and Carers in Performing Arts announced a new scheme to provide workers in the performing arts with access to last-minute childcare.

Emergency childcare scheme for workers in the performing arts will launch in 2019

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