Culture Recovery Fund to support Royal Albert Hall and Southbank Centre with £32m in loans | Live


More than £165 million in repayable finance has been offered to support some of the country’s most iconic cultural organisations.

Among the list are venues including the Southbank Centre (£10,911,000) and the Royal Albert Hall (£20,740,000), which have both been severely impacted by Covid-19. Other recipients include English National Opera, Historic Royal Palaces and the National Theatre. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also announced plans for allocating the remainder of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. Funding will be available for organisations who are at imminent risk of collapse before the end of this financial year.

In total, £300 million in grants and £100 million in loans will be available to support organisations’ transition back to their usual operating mode from April 2021. Further detail on the rounds will be released in the weeks ahead. 

The £165m in bespoke loans have been tailored for cultural institutions with an initial repayment holiday of up to four years, a low interest rate and up to a 20-year repayment term to ensure they are affordable for arts and heritage organisations. 

Oliver Dowden said: “This government promised it would be here for culture and today’s announcement is proof we’ve kept our word. The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come through a second round of applications.

“Today we’re extending a huge helping hand to the crown jewels of UK culture – so that they can continue to inspire future generations all around the world.” 

The £1 billion invested so far through the Culture Recovery Fund has protected tens of thousands of jobs at cultural organisations across the UK, with more support still to come

Oliver Dowden

Elaine Bedell, chief executive, Southbank Centre, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Culture Recovery Board for this vote of confidence in the Southbank Centre and our business recovery plan. We lost £25 million of our income this year and this loan will help us stabilise our finances as we prepare to reopen all our venues safely next Spring. 

“We still have challenges – but we can meet them now with creative optimism and look forward to rebuilding our ambitious artistic programme. We’re acutely aware that this loan is taxpayers money and we must be sure that we deliver value back to all the communities we serve, in London and across the UK. We can’t wait to throw open our doors once more and welcome back our much-missed audiences and visitors.” 

As part of the Culture Recovery Fund, £60 million in grants is being delivered through the Capital Kickstart Fund. This will accelerate previously-funded projects and provide opportunities for work across a range of sectors. 

The Factory will receive £21m in capital investment towards the completion of the project to create a cultural space in the heart of Manchester. Other recipients include the Roundhouse (£499,999), Urban Development (£93,892) and Colchester Arts Centre (£128,182).

Alexandra Palace has also been announced as the latest recipient of grant funding through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. The venue will receive £2,967,600 to enable it to continue with a diverse programme of live, Covid-secure events this winter by covering increased essential costs and supplementing income.  

The financing announced today takes the total allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund over £1 billion.

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