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Royal Albert Hall says it may not survive without 'urgent public donations'

The venue has warned it may not make it out of the pandemic without major help

Royal Albert Hall
© Christie Goodwin

The Royal Albert Hall has warned that it may not be able to survive without public support during the pandemic.

The central London venue has remained closed to audiences since March and, while it has played host to a few socially distanced performances, has yet to welcome punters back.

In a statement the venue said: "Despite recent fanfare regarding the Government's £1.57bn rescue package for the arts sector, the Hall is not eligible for an emergency grant, but has instead been advised to apply for a loan, which, if successful, it will receive in December, nine months after its ability to generate income was abruptly cut off."

Craig Hassall, CEO of the Royal Albert Hall commented: "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."

He added: "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."

The Royal Albert Hall is approaching its 150th anniversary in 2021, with patrons able to donate via the organisation's website.

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