Published: Friday, 10th July 2020
Sevenoaks District Council has agreed to offer Sevenoaks Town Council a loan facility of up to £220,000 to help support the future of The Stag.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the future of The Stag, which is run by the Town Council, was in the balance, with funds predicted to only last a few more months.
The Stag launched a public fundraising campaign to save the independent venue and residents and patrons have come forward to help. Now, Sevenoaks District Council has stepped in and offered a £220,000 loan facility to the Town Council to take as much or as little as they need to help the arts and entertainment hub through this period.
With a strong, realistic recovery plan in place, and the Town Council guaranteeing the loan, there is minimal risk to the District’s Council Taxpayers.
The loan facility is in addition to a discretionary £25,000 Coronavirus support grant agreed and distributed to the Stag by Sevenoaks District Council at the start of the month.
Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, Cllr Peter Fleming, says: “Coronavirus has had a serious impact on the arts and sadly, many venues may not make it through the lockdown. We were determined to help the Town Council to support this important arts hub that benefits not just Sevenoaks but also the wider District economy.
“Access to the arts will play an essential role in reconnecting with communities and bringing people together through cultural activities once the current position changes.
“This loan facility will act as a safety net for the Stag and the Town Council can use it as it sees fit. But I would still urge the public to support the Stag’s fundraising campaign and the centre when it reopens its doors shortly.”
Business Development and Marketing Manager Lisa Whitbread from The Stag, adds “We are very grateful for the offer of the loan. We will need funding for us to reopen, stay open and survive and that includes the grant funding from Sevenoaks Town Council and the money raised from generous public donations. We are still hopeful that we can move forward with confidence towards a brighter future for The Stag.”
Cllr Nicholas Busvine OBE, Mayor of Sevenoaks says: “Sevenoaks District Council’s recognition of the Stag as a cultural centre’s positive impact on the town and District is very welcome. We also greatly value all offers of financial support that have been made to help save our Stag. I would particularly like to thank the thousands of local residents who have sent messages of support to the Stag and who have so generously donated. We need to keep up the momentum – and take the opportunity to go to the Stag now it is re-opening”.
The decision to loan Sevenoaks Town Council £220,000 was agreed by the Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 9 July 2020.