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Sage Gateshead 10th Birthday Appeal Motoring Ahead...Thanks To Benfield!

Posted on 9 December 2014

A generous donation from the North East’s largest independent motor group, Benfield is helping to secure the future of one of the world’s leading music education programmes, right here in the North East.

The Benfield Charitable Trust has donated £50,000 to Sage Gateshead’s 10th birthday appeal and the donation forms part of a permanent endowment for the Tyneside venue’s performance and learning programme. More than 70 per cent of this programme takes place outside of the organisation’s iconic building and has helped secure its standing as a centre for musical excellence, both nationally and internationally. As well as helping communities across the North East learn and develop through music, Sage Gateshead has also become a leading advisor on the creation of similar programmes in Brazil, Austria and other countries around the world.

And because of a 50 per cent match funding agreement with Arts Council England to support endowments in the arts, the Benfield donation is worth £75,000 in real terms to this important cause.

Anthony Sargent CBE, General Director of Sage Gateshead, says:

“We are really very grateful for this donation from our great friends at Benfield, which means we will need just under £2m to hit our target by the July 2015 deadline. If we achieve that, Arts Council England will match fund another £950k. All that will mean that the work we do will remain at the forefront of music education and maintain our impressive international reputation for both education and performance. We have come an incredible way over the last ten years, and Benfield’s donation to our birthday appeal will help us to continue our important work over for the next ten.”

John Squires OBE, Chairman of Benfield Charitable trust, says:

“This Centre for music excellence is not only of vital importance to our region culturally but surveys have shown it also plays a significant part in the economic regeneration of the area. The Benfield Charitable Trust has supported The Sage Gateshead since its foundation and is delighted to continue by responding to the 10th Anniversary Appeal”.

Alongside Benfield, Sage Gateshead’s 10th Birthday Appeal has been supported by many of the North East’s major philanthropists, including the Barbour Foundation, The Vardy Foundation and the Stuart Halbert Foundation. Support also comes from the thousands of people visiting the venue in its anniversary year, and a special set of benefit concerts by Sting – who brings his Broadway musical ‘The Last Ship’ to Sage Gateshead in April 2015. Leading the support for these concerts is Cunard, the international cruise-line company, who commissioned many of the greatest ships from the Swan Hunter Shipyard in Wallsend. Additional support comes from Port of Tyne and Shepherd Offshore.



Opened in 2004, Sage Gateshead has established itself as an international home for music and musical discovery. Its concert programme runs throughout the year, attracting artists from across the world and incorporating all genres of music.

The venue, designed by Foster and Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia. This orchestra was founded in 1968 and received royal status from Queen Elizabeth II in June 2013. Sage Gateshead is also home to the North East’s longstanding Folkworks programme – formed in 1988 to promote and encourage the furtherance of folk music across the region. What’s more, Sage Gateshead runs many other musical education programmes,– each enabling people of all ages and abilities to become involved in music. 70 per cent of the work of these programmes takes place outside of the venue and at the heart of local communities

In June 2012, Arts Council England set Sage Gateshead the challenge of raising £4 million by July 2015 (in order to claim an additional £2 million in match-funding) to help secure the future of this important work. In December 2014, Sage Gateshead will celebrate its 10th Birthday, Its correspondent birthday appeal runs until the summer of 2015, and features a number of high profile concerts and celebrations. Each will help Sage Gateshead to meet the challenge set by Arts Council England and help to ensure that its work in the North East can continue.

For more information, contact the Sage Gateshead Press Office on 0191 443 4567 Or email: Elliot Elam, Head of Marketing & Communications

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