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  • Weekly update, 5 August 2020

    Posted on August 5, 2020
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Impact of COVID-19 on heritage sites of the world’s National Trusts

    Thanks to all of you who have contributed to our survey of the impact of COVID-19.  The pandemic is straining the financial and programmatic sustainability of many INTO member organisations.  At the same time, you have found new and creative ways to deliver your work and core purpose.

    More than half respondents have seen a drop in their membership recruitment and retention.  And while a third receive less than 10% of their annual budget from site-related income, more than a quarter — or 27% — receive at least half of their income from such activities as admissions, rentals, and gifts shops. With visitation down or non-existent during this period, those groups are seeing serious erosion of their fiscal standing since the arrival of the coronavirus.

    David Brown, who is undertaking the research, has written a blog summarising the initial findings.  You can read an advance copy of full article here.

    And tomorrow we will be sharing it via our usual social media channels, so do please keep an eye on @intoheritage (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) and repost if you can!

    (If you haven’t yet responded to the survey, please do so via this link.  And there is more information about American Express’s support on our website here.)

    Incubator programme

    We were so sorry to have to tell our Incubator participants that the programme could not go ahead as planned.  Already rescheduled from March to September, we are sadly still unable to bring everyone together in the UK.  BUT we are planning to digitalise the content instead, which we hope will be equally inspiring!  That also means that we can potentially involve a wider audience and we look forward to telling you more about the online version very shortly.

    Reopening webinar

    I hope you all receive our monthly newsletter.  Sign up at the bottom of the INTO website if you don’t!   The last issue led with the outcomes of a webinar we hosted on 22 July.  It was an operational discussion between representatives from three European Trusts: the NT (EWNI), FAI (Italy) and the Gelderland Trust in the Netherlands.  The webinar is now available as a podcast that you can access here.   (There is also a written summary we can share if you would like.)

    The recording focuses on the experiences of three site managers, Carine van Ketwich Verschuur from Kasteel Doorwerth, Annalisa Filippone of Villa del Balbianello, and Justin Scully at Fountains Abbey.   They talk about what’s been happening, sharing observations and recommendations on what has and has not worked.   It’s a great conversation so do have a listen if you can!

    And here’s a sunny picture I took of Dame Helen Ghosh, then Director-General of the NT EWNI and Carine at Doorwerth back in 2015 – and one of me with Dame Fiona Reynolds on the way to Villa Balbienello the following year!

    The sun always shines when INTO visits …


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