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Southbank Centre Details 'Closure Risk' Amid Pandemic
Christian Eede , May 25th, 2020 18:53

The London-based arts and culture organisation says it is at risk of closure until at least April 2021 if the government does not provide assistance

London's Southbank Centre has shared a statement calling for greater government support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The arts and culture organisation has said that it is at immediate risk of closure announces until at least April 2021 with financial reserves beginning to run dry as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus and associated lockdown measures.

The organisation is forecasting a best case scenario of a £5 million loss at the end of the 2020/21 financial year, but a statement says that even arriving at his position will require all of the Southbank Centre's reserves to be used up, in addition to using the remainder of its annual gran from Arts Council England, leaving the team running it in deficit.

"There will be a need to make some staff redundant and the organisation will cease to be a going concern before the end of the year if further urgent support is not secured," a statement says. "With the likelihood of social-distancing measures remaining in place for many months to come, the venues are unlikely to be able to reopen until April 2021, as to do so on restricted capacities (30%) means the organisation would lose more money by opening than it would generate."

In order to ease their problems, the Southbank Centre team are calling on the government to extend the employee furlough scheme beyond October for the cultural sector; develop a large scale intervention to support the arts sector as it navigates the crisis in order to help organisations survive and plan for the future; and support self-employed artists and musicians who are not covered under the current financial support schemes.

"It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we today share further details about the future of the Southbank Centre," says Elaine Bedell, chief executive of the Southbank Centre. "We know we are not alone in this and stand with our friends, partners, and colleagues – both here in the UK and abroad – during this time of unprecedented challenge.

"With eight orchestras, the National Poetry Library, and Arts Council Collection all calling us home, and playing host to over 4.45 million visitors each year, we're doing all we can to safeguard the Southbank Centre we currently know and love for the years ahead. However, this crisis has hit hard, and we join a number of other organisations and venues in sounding the alarm about the long-term health of UK arts and culture."

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