Suffolk-based arts charity to cut all jobs

Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Aldeburgh, Suffolk

The Poetry Trust, which runs the annual Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in Suffolk, is cutting all its jobs and reviewing how it operates in a bid to address its "precarious financial position". 

In an announcement posted on its website, the charity said it was no longer in a position to have a full-time director so the role had ceased, and the rest of the team would be leaving at the end of the year for other opportunities or because their posts were closed. 

The trust could not be reached for clarification about how many jobs had been lost, but it employed 3.2 full-time equivalent staff during the year ended 31 March 2015 at a cost of £81,000, according to its annual accounts.

The charity had an income of £270,246 and an expenditure of £264,756 during the same year.

Its director was Ellen McAteer, who took over from Naomi Jaffa in February. 

The trust’s announcement said that its plan was to "reset the nature and scope" of the organisation so it could continue to run the festival, which takes place in November.

It said: "Given the difficult funding situation in the arts at the moment, we have decided that it’s the right time to take a pause and review how we operate.

"For many years the trust has fought hard to raise enough funds for all the activity it undertakes as a year-round organisation and this precarious financial position does pose a threat to the future of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival."

The Guardian newspaper quoted Robert Seatter, chair of the trust, as saying: "We are basically reducing the costs. We can’t have so many staff throughout the year, so we will realign things so that the business is focused on the festival. We’re slimming it down, making it a more viable financial model." 

It reported that a decision would be made in January on whether the festival would take place next year.

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