Sage Gateshead has announced 180 jobs are at risk as it starts a redundancy consultation process.

The flagship music centre has begun talks with members of staff staff to ensure the charity can mitigate the projected £10 million losses caused by the Covid-19 crisis, while remaining able to play an active role in the region’s recovery.

A spokesperson for Sage Gateshead said: “Like many organisations across all sectors, Sage Gateshead has had to make the very difficult decision to start a redundancy consultation process.

"Each and every one of our team is highly skilled and committed and all have played a huge part in the success of our organisation to date. It is of great regret that any of these roles are at risk.”

The charity has maximized its use of Government support packages including the Corona Virus Job Retention Fund, furloughing the majority of its 500 staff.

It has also received a positive response from the public to its Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance fundraising campaign. But the charity says it is now clear that these measures alone will not be sufficient to mitigate the substantial financial losses caused by the pandemic.

The spokesperson said: “A cruel irony of the coronavirus pandemic is that it is charities like Sage Gateshead, whose self-generated income outweighs public subsidy by five to one, have seen the most immediate financial impact.

"Until the end of the financial year, Sage Gateshead will lose £10 million as a result of closure.”

For the cultural sector, the announcement of a £1.57 billion Government support package for the arts earlier this month provided hope of public funding support later in the year. However, the spokesperson for Sage Gateshead said: “The Government arts and heritage recovery package it is not intended as a wholesale ‘bail out’ and support from this scheme will be about helping us get through the immediate crisis and will be part of, rather the whole solution to, getting the organisation through this.”

Despite the announcement, Sage Gateshead says it is looking to the future, planning a smaller, more flexible autumn season to reconnect with audiences as a return to live music making in a safe and socially distanced way. In addition, the charity will continue its work with young people, supporting professional musicians and its classes for adults.

The spokesperson said: “We know that music and culture have a role to play in the city and the region’s recovery and we are determined to contribute to this. Our goal throughout this process of consultation, therefore, is to ensure that the organisation has a team which can deliver for people and communities as part of this Covid-19 recovery.”

More information about Sage Gateshead’s Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance fundraising campaign, can be found online at . Donations to the campaign can also be made here.