“I can’t afford to do more charity work”

I am a harpist and am being continually asked to work for free, mostly for charity concerts. Indeed many local orchestras/groups call up for your services as a harpist and are shocked about my requesting a fee. People think you are just giving your ‘time’ so why would you not be able to do it. I have had to come up with a way to say no as I am not very good at it, so have said I work for 2 chosen charities (which I do) and can’t afford to do more charity work.

It’s a nightmare, especially in the days of the so called ‘big society’ where people such as myself are expected to give loads of time for no pay but also expected to pay our bills. On £14000 a year maximum from harping with 2 kids and no extra curricular childcare this is a big ask! I can’t get a plumber/electrician for free… I guess music is the optional extra which enriches/changes lives but is expected free of charge.

Emily Mullins