Van Morrison has temporarily closed applications to his Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund due to “overwhelming demand”.

Launched just last week, 4 November, the fund is designed to support musicians facing financial hardship as a result of government restrictions on live music.

The fund provides one-time grants of £500 to successful applicants who earn at least 50% of their income performing live music, are self-employed or currently unemployed, and are over the age of 16.

The veteran singer-songwriter said a second phase of the funding is planned in early 2021: “We are working hard to lobby for the support required over the coming months. We would urge everyone to keep an eye on our social channels for further updates.”

Morrison has also launched a petition calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to work with the live music sector to support a timeline and roadmap for the recommencement of live music.

The artist, who was due to play a series of shows at the London Palladium (cap, 2,300) this month said: “Restrictions imposed by the Northern Ireland Executive are needlessly crippling the livelihoods of everyone who is part of the live music eco-system.

“Venues have spent millions of pounds on the implementation of additional safety measures in order to operate in line with government guidance, only to now be shut down again.”