Today The Scottish Government has announced funding of £3.8 million for the conservation charity, The National Trust for Scotland.

This will reduce the number of compulsory redundancies from 429 to 188, and the Trust can now plan on reopening 33 properties rather than 27 as planned. One of these will be The Georgian House in Charlotte Square which will open by September.

Previously, the organisation had announced that it was consulting on a number of emergency measures falling the coronavirus pandemic, and it has also launched its biggest ever fundraising appeal. You can contribute here.

The National Trust for Scotland’s Chief Executive, Phil Long OBE said: “I want to offer my profound thanks to the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and particularly to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop.

“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.

“My joy at this announcement is tempered by the fact that the effects of Covid-19 are so devastating that we’re still having to say goodbye to many friends and colleagues.  I wish it were not so, but much to my regret redundancies are unavoidable, although this support has helped us to keep them to the absolute minimum possible.

“While many of the affected posts are seasonal, and staff would have been finishing up for the year in a matter of weeks, we have modified our redundancy policy.  If the situation improves sufficiently next year and we are able to recruit again, former staff can apply for posts after six months without having to repay their redundancy money.

“Through our consultation process on our emergency measures we received sage advice from staff and Trust members on functions and expertise we needed to retain.  As a result, we were able to come up with a resilient operating model that I’m confident will weather the aftermath of the Covid crisis.

“It has been a tough and demanding year so far, but I am glad that we have been able to begin the return to some form of normality. As we re-open properties we have been very busy ensuring that they are safe places to visit as we abide by the government guidelines designed to ensure the wellbeing of our welcome visitors and our volunteers and staff who I would also like to thank for their immense hard work and fortitude during this deeply concerning time.”

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.