The Royal Albert Hall has launched a plea for public donations after the iconic venue struggled to weather the financial impact of coronavirus.
Since closing its doors in March, the London hall has lost £18 million in income and refunded over £6.5 million in ticket sales. It has since been warned that it could close next year without support.
While the government launched a £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts, the venue is ineligible for an emergency grant and has instead been advised to apply for a loan, which it will only receive in December.
Craig Hassall, CEO of the Royal Albert Hall, said: “Six months on from enforced closure, and circa £18m down in lost income, we are not eligible for any of the Government’s emergency grants. This leaves us in an extremely perilous position, with no way of replacing our lost income, apart from a government loan which may or may not materialise.
“We raised concerns months ago about the potential for independent, unfunded organisations such as the Royal Albert Hall to miss out on government support, and especially having been held up by Government as a ‘crown jewel’ that must be saved.
“With millions of pounds of essential building work called to a halt owing to COVID we had hoped to be eligible for a capital grant but have been informed that, as we are not a portfolio of nationally spread sites, we are not eligible for this scheme.”
Hassall added: “We are fortunate to have supportive members and private donors who have given generously, but unfortunately, the ‘Rescue Package’ fanfare has given many potential donors the false sense that we are being sufficiently supported elsewhere. The Royal Albert Hall now faces a bleak future unless it can secure not only a repayable Government loan, but also urgent donations to plug our current £20m shortfall.”
Those wishing to donate to the Royal Albert Hall can do so here.
Alternatively, you can text 70490 from the UK with 5ALBERT to donate £5, 10ALBERT to donate £10, or 20ALBERT to donate £20.