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Roundhouse rejects Sackler Trust donation

The Roundhouse has turned own funding (Ian West/PA)
The Roundhouse has turned own funding (Ian West/PA)

Arts venue the Roundhouse has turned down a £1 million donation from the Sackler Trust over concerns for “young people”.

The performance space in London refused the funding because it would distract from its work.

Earlier this year the Sackler Trust suspended charitable donations after its offers were shunned by arts institutions including the Tate and National Portrait Gallery.

Dame Theresa Sackler – stock
Dame Theresa Sackler had announced the suspension of donations due to adverse publicity (Philip Toscano/PA)

The trust’s connections with Purdue Pharma, which has been linked to the opioid crisis in the US, has provoked strong criticism.

Money reportedly meant for the Roundhouse has been turned down, although the venue has thanked the trust for past support.

A Roundhouse spokesman said: “We are enormously grateful for the trust’s support over the years, but we have made a decision not to accept the donation at this time.

“To do so risks distracting from our work with young people, and that’s our priority.”

Controversy surrounded the Sackler Trust over family links to Purdue Pharma, which produces OxyContin, a painkiller which has promoted public concerns in relation to the US opioid crisis.

In March 2019 trust chairwoman Dame Theresa Sackler said in a statement issued on behalf of the trustees: “I am deeply saddened by the addiction crisis in America and support the actions Purdue Pharma is taking to help tackle the situation, whilst still rejecting the false allegations made against the company and several members of the Sackler family.

“The trustees of the Sackler Trust have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments.

“I remain fully committed to all the causes the Sackler Trust supports, but at this moment it is the better course for the trust to halt all new giving until we can be confident that it will not be a distraction for institutions that are applying for grants.”

The Sackler Trust has been contacted for comment.

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