Historic Royal Palaces secures £ 40million loan and Southbank Center secures £ 11million in latest UK Covid-19 funding round


Hampton Court Palace
Photo: © David Dixon

British heritage organization Historic Royal Palaces has secured a £ 40million loan in the government’s latest round of emergency Covid-19 funding. Eleven organizations across England will receive loans totaling £ 165million under the repayable fundraising scheme, including London’s Southbank Center, which has secured a £ 10.9million loan sterling.

The program is part of the government’s £ 1.57 billion scheme to safeguard the culture and heritage sectors in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The loans can be repaid over 20 years, with an initial repayment holiday of up to four years and an interest rate of 2% per annum, says the website for Arts Council England, which handles the payments.

“This loan is the lifeline we need to begin our recovery. This will help us cover our losses this year, after using up all of our reserves, and the additional losses we expect to incur in 2021, until we are able to support ourselves again, ”said John Barnes, Managing Director of Historic Royal Palaces, in a report. The organization oversees six sites including the Tower of London and Hampton Court.

However, a spokeswoman for the historic royal palaces said the cash injection would not prevent further layoffs. “The loan we received will be a vital gateway to our recovery, providing much needed support during this time when we expect to face further substantial losses. However, it does not replace the need to reduce our costs, as we will have to live with significantly reduced means until we are able to generate a surplus again. We anticipate this will take several years, ”she said. The organization is now targeting around sixty compulsory dismissals and is also in the midst of a redeployment phase.

Elaine Bedell, Managing Director of the Southbank Center, said: ‘We are keenly aware that this loan is taxpayers’ money and we need to make sure that we are delivering value back to all the communities we serve, in London and across. across the UK. A little over 50% of the workforce has been made redundant; the flagship arts center on the Thames is due to reopen next spring.

Meanwhile, more than £ 60million in grants are expected to be distributed through the Capital Kickstart Fund which covers ‘ongoing construction and maintenance costs’ on investment projects previously funded by the Arts Council. England.

The Factory in Manchester, the long-awaited arts center that will become the permanent home of the biennial Manchester International Festival, has received £ 21million. The building, designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, is now expected to be completed by the end of 2022, two years later than planned.

“[Other] recipients include the Turner Contemporary in Margate, which has received £ 264,000 to complete a long-term transformation of its visitor facilities and digital infrastructure, as well as to improve the environmental sustainability of the site, ”the ministry said. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Towner Gallery in Eastbourne received £ 341,002; the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool obtained £ 123,732; and London-based non-profit arts organization Studio Voltaire received £ 195,660.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on existing capital projects, with many cultural organizations experiencing a budget deficit due to issues such as: reduced staff capacity; the underperformance of fundraising; significant delay in project deadlines; and the associated cost increases, ”says DCMS.

UPDATE: This article has been updated with new details regarding the number of layoffs at Southbank Center.


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