London venue urges government to extend support to cultural sector...

London arts hub Southbank Centre could remain shut until "at least" April 2021, it has warned.

Established in the aftermath of the Second World War, the Southbank Centre hosts over 3500 events a year, welcoming enough visitors to fill Wembley Stadium fifty times over.

Currently shut due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the centre has now warned that it might not re-open until "at least" Spring next year.

Remaining shut until April 2021 is feasible, the centre warns, with reserves set to run out by September 2020.

The charity that runs the Southbank Centre says its best case scenario from the 2020/2021 financial year is a £5 million loss, and warns lay off could be inevitable if further support is not secured.

Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive, Southbank Centre, says:

"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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