Alexandra Palace saved from risk of closure thanks to £2.9million grant

Bird's eye view of Alexandra Palace
London landmark is on the ‘route to recovery’ as government emergency funding for culture hits £1billion.

‘Ally Pally’, the iconic venue built in 1873 as the ‘People’s Palace’, has been awarded £2.9m by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

This funding, part of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, will help save the iconic site from risk of closure following the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is the largest Culture Recovery Fund grant distributed to date.

“Alexandra Palace is a jewel in the crown of London’s heritage, with commanding views over the city, important parkland and the National Lottery-funded Victorian theatre.”

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Facing an uncertain future

Over the past 140 years Alexandra Palace, which in 2015 secured National Lottery funding of £18.8m, has been home to some of the most iconic moments in modern entertainment history.

The vast heritage site is one of the country’s largest independent venues, which in a normal year delivers over 250 events, provides more than 20,000 work opportunities and contributes nearly £170m to the wider economy.

Throughout the pandemic the organisation has taken its creative learning programme online to deliver art, literature, dance, poetry and music activities for young people, families, schools, disabled people and care home residents. In April the space was transformed into a vital food distribution hub.

But without being able to undertake its normal commercial activities, the organisation had been facing an uncertain future and the very realistic option of closing some areas of the site.

Man playing piano to empty room
Nick Cave performing for an online event in an empty palace

Impact of the funding

Louise Stewart, Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, CEO said: ‘We are hugely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and DCMS for their critical support at a time when organisations such as ourselves are facing overwhelming financial challenges due to the impact of the pandemic.”

The government grant will fund vital costs to enable the Trust to continue to maintain the listed palace and 196 acre park.

It will also enable Ally Pally to deliver its programme of cultural events and creative learning activities that support some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Alexandra Palace is a jewel in the crown of London’s heritage, with commanding views over the city, important parkland and the National Lottery-funded Victorian theatre.

Large terrace full of people sitting around tables with fantastic view of London in background
Ally Pally's outdoor terrace provides a spectacular destination for a socially distanced drink

“Like so many organisations that rely on visitor income from events – from snooker to summer festivals – the Trust was facing a perilous future due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“The leadership and the team at Ally Pally have done an amazing job in recent years creating a sustainable and important cultural destination serving some of London’s most deprived communities in the borough of Haringey. 

“We are delighted to be part of helping them to survive and thrive through this difficult time.”

Culture Recovery Fund milestone

Alexandra Palace's grant has helped the government reach the milestone of over £1bn of support provided to cultural organisations. It is part of a wider raft of Culture Recovery Fund grants and loans announced today.

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