Almost 200 jobs saved at the National Trust for Scotland

An award of £3.8m in funding from the Scottish government has enabled the charity to almost halve the number of redundancies it was planning

Culzean Castle, a National Trust for Scotland property (Photograph: David Robertson/National Trust for Scotland)
Culzean Castle, a National Trust for Scotland property (Photograph: David Robertson/National Trust for Scotland)

Almost 200 jobs have been saved at the National Trust for Scotland after the Scottish government offered the conservation charity £3.8m in financial support.

The trust was poised to enact emergency measures that included making 429 staff redundant, more than half of the total 750 people in employs, as well as delaying re-opening some of the heritage properties in its care until 2021 or 2022.

As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the charity has lost almost £30m - half its expected annual income. But the charity said the injection of funding from the Scottish government means the charity could save 197 jobs.

Most of the affected posts are seasonal, this includes saving 20 countryside ranger roles out of 35, and all ecologists.

But the charity will still have to make 188 compulsory redundancies combined with a further 44 voluntary redundancies, a total of 232 jobs lost. 

A spokeswoman for the charity said after an initial approach for support to the Scottish government in April, a new Scottish enterprise task group was established by the cabinet secretary. 

The charity submitted a business case for financial support to this body which resulting in the award of £3.8m in emergency funding. 

The trust said that the funding would be used to help underpin a new, resilient operating model, which would allow it to survive short-to-medium term issues, such as a prolonged national economic recovery and further coronavirus spikes. 

It will also enable the charity to open or partially more properties than originally hoped.

Thirty-three built heritage properties will re-open this year, rather than the 27 originally planned, in addition to natural heritage properties that opened in July. 

The trust said it would confirm details of those properties soon after staff consultation. 

The additional support follows an earlier emergency appeal that has so far raised nearly £2.5m from thousands of donors and members.

Phil Long, chief executive at the charity, said: “We were confronted by the worst crisis in our charity’s history and we had a very real fear that this history was about to end abruptly. 

“The generous support from the Scottish government, together with the inspiring number of donations made by many individuals, has diverted us away from that terrible outcome.”

In addition to keeping redundancies to a minimum, Long said there were 105 pooled posts that affected staff could apply for, as well as posts that have become vacant over this year’s recruitment freeze, and more than 40 people requesting voluntary redundancy.

The charity’s management team and trustees will prepare a re-jigged strategy and recovery plan to be presented to members at the trust’s annual general meeting next month. 

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