MUSIC superstar Sting and businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Margaret Barbour have been announced as patrons of Sage Gateshead’s Covid-19 fundraising campaign, Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance.

The news was announced as the campaign, which was launched in June and aims to place art and culture at the heart of the region’s recovery, reaches £200,000 in public donations. This represents 20 per cent of the charity’s first year target.

Sting, who hails from the region, and Dame Margaret Barbour are both long-time supporters of the music charity.

Sting recently supported the organisation’s Stand Up for Sage Gateshead campaign, which highlighted the organisation’s plans to reconfigure the seating arrangements in Sage One to allow for standing gigs and a more diverse music programme.

Dame Margaret is an long-term supporter of Royal Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of Sage Gateshead, and has shown huge generosity in supporting the orchestra for many years, since before Sage Gateshead was built in 2004.

Sting said: “Sage Gateshead is a vital and irreplaceable part of musical life in the North-East. It’s a world-class venue that attracts musicians from across the globe, nurtures the next generation of musicians from our region, and does amazing work with communities.

“As a result of the global pandemic, they’re now facing significant financial challenges. I’m delighted to be able to support their current three 3-year campaign as a patron, and I hope they’ll bounce back from this crisis to make live music a major part of the North-East’s recovery.”

Dame Margaret added: “Sage Gateshead plays an important part in providing a varied programme of music and cultural events for everyone in the North East."

The announcement comes as Sage Gateshead awaits further guidance on the £1.57 billion fund that the Government has pledged to the arts, with guidelines, funding vehicles and specific support packages yet to be announced.

However, despite this support package, the organisation says it will take more to close the financial gap caused by Covid-19, which is now projected at £10 million until the end of March 2021.

As Sage Gateshead remains closed, donations are now the charity’s main source of income, making the Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance campaign even more vitally important.

Sage Gateshead Managing Director, Abigail Pogson, said: “We are grateful that the Government has recognised the importance of the arts as part of the recent £1.57 billion announcement.

"The cultural sector generates £32bn for the economy a year. Just as importantly, cultural activity is part of our national life, contributing to our wellbeing, education and social lives.

"However, we know that Government support is only one of the ways in which we will get through this crisis phase and into recovery, and we’ll need to work very hard ourselves to close the significant financial gap we face."

She added: “Our own fundraising efforts remain a top priority, therefore, which is why we are doing everything we can to advance it. I am so grateful to Sting and Dame Margaret, as friends of Sage Gateshead, for pledging to walk alongside us during this very challenging time.

"I am also hugely thankful to every single person who donated in support of Sage Gateshead during the campaign so far. We have been so overwhelmed by the support.”

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