Southbank Centre
Image Source: Alan Stanton
Southbank Centre may close until April 2021.
Chloe Shakesby

Southbank Centre "may need" to make redundancies amid plans to close until April 2021

A London arts organisation has said that it may need to make staff redundant and close until April 2021.

The Southbank Centre has reported that it is facing a “best case scenario” of a £5.1m deficit for 2020/2021 despite furloughing the majority of its staff during lockdown, and may need to make some employees redundant.

The centre has called for government support, and has said that it is using its existing £19.2m grant from Arts Council England to “effectively mothball the buildings”.

Elaine Bedell, chief executive of the Southbank Centre, commented: “It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we today share further details about the future 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.

“The Southbank Centre’s own history is traced directly to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Here, the post-war government recognised how vital arts and culture were to the health and well-being of a traumatised nation.

“Just as the South Bank was a focal point of social and economic recovery then, we hope that we’ll emerge from this crisis to an even brighter future, throwing our doors wide open once more.”

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