Arran NTS jobs are safe and Brodick Castle reopens

Over the past couple of months we have reported on the campaign #Fortheloveofnature which was set up to help secure the jobs of the NTS Rangers across Scotland which were put at risk of redundancy recently. The great news last month has been that many of the posts around Scotland have been saved and all have been at Brodick (the castle and park), including the Ranger posts! Here is some news from the National Trust.

Following an announcement that the Scottish Government has made a financial contribution of £3.8 million towards the National Trust for Scotland in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the charity has confirmed what this will mean for its properties in Argyll, Ayrshire, Arran, Greater Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway, as well as across the rest of the nation.

The government contribution adds to nearly £2.5 million donated to an emergency appeal and follows on from a formal consultation on emergency measures intended to save the charity from collapse.

As a result of lockdown and subsequent restrictions, the Trust has lost almost £30 million – half its expected income. The charity’s proposed emergency measures included placing 429 positions at risk as well as delaying re-opening of some of the heritage properties in its care until 2021 or 2022.

With the financial support and donations, and with changes made to proposals by the Trust’s managers following consultation, the Trust is now able to reduce redundancies to the minimum possible and open or partially open more properties than originally hoped:

• Across Scotland, the number of compulsory redundancies falls from 429 to 188; most of the affected posts are seasonal;
• 33 built heritage properties will re-open this year, rather than the 27 originally planned, in addition to natural heritage properties which opened from July;
• The Trust avoids the risk of ceasing to be a ‘going concern’ and now has the space and time needed to reconfigure its strategy and forward planning and look towards full recovery in due course.

In Greater Glasgow, Argyll, Ayrshire, Arran and Dumfries & Galloway, the majority of grounds, gardens and historic properties will be re-opening this year.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The National Trust for Scotland is responsible for promoting and protecting many of Scotland’s most important natural and built sites, which are crucial to our heritage and tourism sectors.

“The Scottish Government has worked extremely hard to support as many jobs as possible. Whilst we have a long road ahead of us on the way to recovery as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, reopening more of the National Trust for Scotland’s most iconic properties is testament to all of the work that has gone on behind the scenes and will enable the Trust to continue its responsibilities to protect, promote and celebrate Scotland’s heritage.”

The Trust’s management team and Board of Trustees will now concentrate on stabilising and securing the charity operationally for the immediate future, and preparing a revised strategy to enable the Trust to move forward.

The Castle is now open five days a week – Saturday to Wednesday, 11am – 4pm, and the Country Park is open everyday from 10am – 5pm, including the Squirrel hide!

Featured image shows a red squirrel in the hide at Brodick last week. Photo credit: Arran Ranger Service