Derby Quad seeks £150k financial lifeline from council

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Quad is a key cultural organisation

One of Derby’s biggest cultural venues has requested a six-figure loan from taxpayers to help with its struggling finances - which it has blamed in part on reduced footfall thanks to the closures of the Market Hall, the Guildhall and the Assembly Rooms.

Bosses of the Quad in the Market Place have asked the city council for a loan of £150,000 “to support cash flow” over the coming years.

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They have also asked for public support to fund much-needed new equipment.

The new Labour-run leadership of Derby City Council is recommended to approve the loan by officers at a cabinet meeting next week.

The city centre venue, which hosts films, exhibitions, talks and other cultural events, is said to be struggling and requiring additional financial support due to a number of factors including rising energy costs - but mainly the impact of the cost of living crisis which is said to be putting people off attending cultural events.

Bosses at the Quad are also seeking funds through a GoFundMe fundraising page.

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The page has a target fund of £30,000 and states: “We desperately need to upgrade equipment that is essential for bringing you the activities we know you love.”

A report ahead of the cabinet meeting said in addition to the cost of living crisis, the Quad is “further impacted by reduced footfall due to the closure of surrounding cultural buildings including the Market Hall, the Guildhall Theatre and the Assembly Rooms”.

The report added: “Quad is therefore implementing an organisational review to address a short-term budgetary shortfall and establish longer-term sustainability. To support cash-flow during the delivery of this recovery process a loan provision of £0.150m has been requested from Derby City Council.”

Mark Gregory, the Quad’s chair, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the cash from taxpayers would support the sustainability of the venue moving forward.

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He said: “Given the tough external environment, we are discussing with Derby City Council options for additional support for the organisation, alongside raising additional funds ourselves and restructuring our activities. Quad celebrates its 15th birthday in September. Due to the age of the building we need to continue to make sure it is as accessible and comfortable as possible for our customers, and also as a vital part of Derby’s cultural ecosystem for many years to come.”

Council leaders in Derby will decide next week whether or not to approve the loan request.

The report prepared for them states not doing so would increase the financial risk for the venue.

The report added: “There is the option to not provide the requested loan facility to Quad. However, this would increase financial risk to the organisation and slow the pace of their recovery.

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“Quad is a key cultural organisation that can support city centre regeneration through increased vibrancy and placemaking. Slowing the pace of Quad’s recovery will have an impact on the wider city centre.”

Details of the loan repayment have yet to be agreed, but the intention is that it will be interest-free over a three-year period.

If the loan is approved, a further review will take place in the autumn to monitor the progress of the recovery to ensure it is meeting the anticipated timeline.

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