IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Lexington at risk after disappointing arts grant

Venue owner left "heartbroken" after receiving less funding than expected from arts recovery grant

16 October, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

The Lexington

A LIVE music venue in King’s Cross is at risk of closing after receiving less funding than expected from the Arts Council’s recovery fund.

The Lexington in Pentonville Road has played host to hundreds of gigs over the years but has been shut since March due to Covid-19.

Owner Stacey Thomas applied for £430,000 from the government’s cultural recovery fund but on Monday found out they will receive just £180,000.

Ms Thomas said the money would be used to cover lockdown debts but it might not be enough to keep them afloat.

“I have been heartbroken. I have spent three days crying,” she said. “If we had the full grant it would have allowed us to start putting together events.

“We are in a footfall dead zone. No one walks past. We were looking to do socially distanced gigs but then the curfew came along.”

Ms Thomas has 20 years’ experience running music venues, having opened the Buffalo Bar below the Famous Cock Tavern pub in Highbury back in 2000. She opened the Lexington in 2008.

Mark Davyd, founder of the Music Venue Trust, said: “The Lexington is an absolute key London venue. It’s a high priority for us that the Lexington is saved for the future.

“We are devising a specific fundraising campaign and working on helping The Lexington get the support they need.”

A spokesperson for the Arts Council said: “In some cases, we did offer reduced funding, where organisations were not able to demonstrate sufficient need for the full amount or where organisations applied for money to cover ineligible costs based on the criteria of this fund.”

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