Royal Institution welcomes £1.5 million loan from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

The Royal Institution (Ri) has been successful in securing a loan of £1.5 million made available under the second round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), the Culture Secretary announced today.

The Ri is one of 2700 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving support – with more than £300 million awarded under the second round.

The loan is designed to help the Ri recover from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to help transition back to normal in the months ahead. Its follows a £588,900 grant award to the Ri, also from the Culture Recovery Fund, received in October last year.

The Culture Recovery Fund grants programme is administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The loan finance – with a long-term repayment plan – will be used to cover the Ri’s annual operating costs in 2021/22, as it begins to reintroduce science engagement activities and plans for a re-opening of the Ri later this year. As result, it helps to maintain the Ri’s free museum and it’s internationally significant collection of scientific artefacts, and to continue its charitable mission to create opportunities for everyone to discover, discuss and critically examine science and the way in which it shapes the world around us.

Since the Ri closed in late March 2020, it has developed a successful programme of twice-weekly science talks online, replicating the experience of its world-famous theatre, which can be watched in living rooms around the world. Once live-streamed the talks are hosted on the Ri’s well-established YouTube channel, which is just days away from reaching the 1 million subscribers mark. The Ri has also re-introduced Covid-safe activities in schools, along with online workshops run by it’s L’Oreal Young Scientists Centre and Masterclasses team, and later this month will introduce virtual science activities for families.

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."

Lucinda Hunt, Director of the Royal Institution, said: “As an independent charity we are reliant on income we raise ourselves; income which has been decimated by a long suspension of our face to face science engagement and unrestricted income generating activities.

“Nevertheless, we have worked hard to further develop our activities for delivery through digital channels during lockdown and the funding announced today will help us to continue engaging audiences online, which are harder to reach in person, while also planning for a re-opening of our historic building and a return to activities within it.

“The loan will help secure the future of our charitable activities, our support for science education in schools and in the home, our theatre talks for adults & families and maintain our free museum which is open to all.

“We are grateful to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for this loan as we are for contributions from others who are supporting the Ri.”

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.