Government steps in to support Battersea Arts Centre with £1million – how will the money be used?

The front of the building is buzzing this week with Battersea’s young people who have created the Hourglass Festival. This is a week of performances, music and debate programmed by our Young Producers working with members of Homegrown, the Beatbox Academy and The Agency. The festival includes young people from Deptford’s Albany, Ipswich’s New Wolsey and Manchester’s Contact. It is a week for optimism and shaping the future. Do come and support these inspiring young creatives and help them develop their great ideas.

The Hourglass Festival is great cause for positivity. However, a quick walk round the back of the building offers a stark reminder of the scale of the challenge that faces Battersea Arts Centre in the coming years. Yesterday, the Government stepped in and offered £1million towards recovery and renovation. I would like to offer huge thanks to Battersea’s MP, Jane Ellison, who invited Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to come to Battersea last Monday, and who has fought to secure help for the organisation. I really appreciate Jane’s support. Thank you to Sajid Javid MP and George Osborne MP who have backed Battersea Arts Centre in this moment and to Arts Council England for their brilliant guidance and friendship over these past ten days.

As I said in a previous blog, this cause goes across party politics, the support we had from the local Labour party on the night of the fire was crucial. The groundswell of support for the organisation, across political divides, local and national government, across different communities, across art forms, across culture, heritage, education…the breadth of the support continues to give us resolve to rebuild Battersea Arts Centre in to an even stronger organisation, that inspires people to take creative risks and shape the future.

As the dust settles, as financial support comes in, and as the needs of the organisation and building become clearer by the day, I thought it would be useful to set out our position, especially in terms of fundraising.

Before the fire, Battersea Arts Centre had two focuses for its fundraising:

  1. Annual revenue fundraising target – every year the organisation raises around £600,000 to maintain its programme of activities;
  2. Remaining capital target – during this year the organisation was raising £500,000 for refurbishment of the front half of the building which was not affected by the fire and there was also money to raise through the 60 memberships left for The Great Hundred Club

After the fire, Battersea Arts Centre has two additional challenges:

  1. Phoenix Fund – created in response to this emergency. We think that a £1million Phoenix Fund will enable the organisation to tackle the challenges of not having the Grand Hall for up to three years.
  2. Rebuild Fund – the organisation is now looking ahead to how we rebuild the Grand Hall and what is needed in order to ensure that Battersea Arts Centre emerges from this crisis in better shape.

To date, individuals and organisations have donated £100,000 which is incredible. Our good neighbour, Battersea Power Station, has donated a further £100,000. And yesterday, the government added £1,000,000.

So how will the funds be used?

  • None of the funds raised in response to the fire will go towards our annual fundraising target (1). But we do ask that Trusts, Foundations and individual donors continue to support us to maintain the organisation’s innovative programme of activities during this time;
  • £500,000 of the government’s investment will meet our remaining capital target(2) so that we now just have to raise money through our 60 remaining Great Hundred memberships for the existing capital project
  • The other £500,000 of the government’s investment will go towards our Phoenix Fund(3) along with the £200,000 from public donations and Battersea Power Station, totalling £700,000 for the Phoenix Fund to date. This leaves us with a further £300,000 to raise– we have a massive fundraiser happening on 18th April at Royal Festival Hall to help us get closer to £1million.

We are currently working on the shape and scale of the Rebuild Fund. We are working very closely with our insurers and we obviously aim for the majority of the rebuild costs to be covered by insurance. Big thanks to Aviva, our insurer, and Wrightsure, our broker, who are both being brilliantly supportive in this moment. We will also look to be true to the values of Battersea in the way we go about rebuilding the Hall and want to explore how we can all work together to create something extraordinary, for everyone, out of the ashes of the fire. We will work on the plan for the rebuild over the coming month and announce plans on this site.

Thank you again to everyone who is stepping forward to support the organisation. People have been generous in commenting that we have responded well, but let me tell you, it is daily offers of support from individuals, organisations and now government, that is making this all possible. This is not just our response to a fire, this is your response, and it means we will become an even stronger organisation, thanks to you.

You can donate to the Phoenix fund here

If you would like support with any fundraising please email Rosie Spiegelhalter rosiesp@bac.org.uk

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