2020 Hardship Fund

Written by Jack Doyle
Level 3, United Kingdom

Written by Jack Doyle
Level 3, United Kingdom

Hi, everyone. As I write this, I’m sitting in my home office and everything’s a bit strange judging-wise — event cancellations, a general down-tick in events, and a lot of our community bearing the brunt of the social distancing and isolation elements of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. I’m writing here to inform you about an initiative that between myself, David Lyford-Smith, and Imogen Tilley, we’re calling the 2020 Hardship Fund. This was originally intended to be announced at Judge Nationals itself, to try and spin a bit of positivity into the situation, but that event finding itself unfortunately cancelled leads us to do something a little more like this.

What are you talking about, Jack?

Great question, nameless reader! You may know that the previous iteration (i.e. pre-Judge Academy) of the judge program’s regional system meant that conferences, Exemplar programs, and any other such predecessors, often came along with judge foils. The excesses and spares of those programs went into a “pot” for the region — they weren’t often claimed back. As a result, the old UKISA region has an amount of cash, a large number of foils, and now, a goal — to try and dampen the harm being caused to judges through loss of income and inability to reclaim costs associated with events (we all know how far in advance a lot of our travel and accommodation is booked).

Who is this for?

It’s for the judges of the “old” UKISA region — the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa. Why is that? Well, the regional “stashes” as I’ve described were dissolved in different ways — to my knowledge, the “old” Europe – North region’s RC (hey Johanna! <3) decided to evenly split the foils between the certified members of the region. We (the UKISA region) elected not to do that, and instead maintain a collection of foils, bank accounts, and infrastructure for a rainy day. It’s raining.

This is for judges who have costs (or loss of income) from the following cancelled events:

  • Judge Nationals 2020
  • MagicFest Turin 2020
  • MagicFest Copenhagen 2020

CFBEvents have offered a separate system, which this is *not* intended to replace — if you can recover your costs through airlines, hotels, and CFBE, we expect you to not use this system. If you have been denied access to funds or income from these events, that is what this fund is for.

Judges with unusual circumstances or who are otherwise looking to apply for additional funds can, of course, do so, but we will consider these on a case-by-case basis. We are super aware that a number of people do this in a professional manner (and some as their primary/only source of income) and are therefore a lot harder-hit, numbers-wise.

How do I apply?

You can apply in a relatively free-form manner through this Google Form, which DL-S and myself have access to:

Link to Form

We would like your “story”, as well as the specifics of the amount you are out of pocket (separately listing flights, hotels, other costs, and expected income). For each of these events, there is a pot of money set aside. It is not infinite money, and we will work out a way that is fair to cover more judges, rather than cover all of the costs of fewer judges.

We are also aware that judges who lack clout in the program (newer judges, more “casual” judges, or judges who dip in and out and do fewer events) are often left by the wayside with things like this; we are eager to make sure that this system is fairly considering as many affected judges as possible.

We must emphasise that there is zero shame in asking, applying, or wanting clarifications (questions like “is this covered?” are welcome). These are grants, not loans – a successful application means you will be given an amount of money with no expectation of repayment or additional strings.

Lastly, we need to liquidate some of our stash of foils to make this happen. If you want to support us in this operation, consider purchasing a shiny object (or you can donate an amount and we will compensate you with an appropriate amount of foils if you desire) to give us a hand. Get in touch with Imogen (via Discord, Facebook, or by email/through JudgeApps) for a list of foils/prices and/or more information.

In the meantime, please stay inside, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Jack x