Skip to main content

Sage Gateshead

 →  Media Room  →  Sage Gateshead receives £3 million loan from second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Sage Gateshead receives £3 million loan from second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Posted on 2 April 2021


Sage Gateshead has received a loan of £3 million from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Sage Gateshead in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

A year ago, life was turned upside down. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on people and communities, and it presented Sage Gateshead with a significant financial challenge.

In March 2020, Sage Gateshead closed its doors. 80% of its income was affected, and it faced a £10 million gap. It is weathering the storm thanks to generous philanthropy and vital government support through the Culture Recovery Fund. This has helped it safeguard its building, find new ways to keep live music going digitally, and support artists and musicians.

Sage Gateshead has been able to stay connected to its audiences through online activity. In the past year, children and young people have taken part in over 7,800 online music classes and workshops, and Sage Gateshead’s Digital Stage has reached 1 million people.

The North East is home to terrific musical talent, including Royal Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of Sage Gateshead. The organisation has also supported 199 artists across genres through safe performance opportunities, virtual artist residencies, well-being and health sessions.

Thanks to the loan of £3 million from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund Round Two, it has secured finance which will go a long way to helping it navigate the year ahead.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead, said: “Everyone at Sage Gateshead would like to offer their renewed thanks to the DCMS and Arts Council England. The loan of £3 million will help us navigate this period of recovery and reopening.

“We cannot wait to get back to making music, contributing to the North East’s recovery by bringing people together, supporting health and wellbeing, and nurturing the great talent in our region. We have seen in the past year that together, we are here for culture, and we can secure the future of live music in the North East.”

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The £400m pot has been awarded by Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Sir Martin Narey, Chair of Sage Gateshead said: “I became Chair of Sage Gateshead just after the first Covid lockdown started and I have watched as this outstanding venue has haemorrhaged money. This loan from DCMS, along with the generous grant from Round 1, will not just enable us to survive but will allow us to take Sage Gateshead and the Royal Northern Sinfonia to new heights.”


For further media information on Sage Gateshead please contact Susie Gray, 07834 073795

Notes to Editors

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund would be boosted with a further £300 million investment. Details of this third round of funding will be announced soon.

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.  Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

About the BFI

Our purpose – why we do what we do:

We believe society needs stories. Film, television and the moving image bring them to life, helping us to connect and understand each other better.

We share the stories of yesterday, search for the stories of today, and shape the stories of tomorrow.

Our mission:

The BFI is a cultural charity, a distributor of National Lottery funding and the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. Our mission is to:

  • Support creativity and actively seek out the next generation of UK storytellers
  • Grow and care for the BFI National Archive, the world’s largest film and television archive
  • Offer the widest range of UK and international moving image culture through our programmes and festivals – delivered online and in venue
  • Use our knowledge to educate and deepen public appreciation and understanding
  • Work with Government and industry to ensure the continued growth of the UK’s screen industries

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.

The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Tim Richards.

Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation shows what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer and has brought investment and tourism into the region, generating c. £500 million contribution to the local economy, a sum six times greater than its combined capital cost.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-lockdown Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead, the iconic Foster + Partners designed NE landmark. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the National lockdown. Sage Gateshead recommenced performances in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across genres, made available by live stream; audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund to help it through the pandemic and to contribute to the region’s recovery.