Bletchley Park Trust announces job losses

Organisation says it must restructure to survive financial impact of Covid-19
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Eleanor Mills
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Visitors at the GCandCS To GCHQ exhibition at Bletchley Park Trust
Visitors at the GCandCS To GCHQ exhibition at Bletchley Park Trust

The Bletchley Park Trust, the home of codebreaking in Britain during world war two, is proposing to restructure as a result of the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The trust, which is based in Milton Keynes, lost more than 95% of its income between March and July as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, leaving a £2m gap in its annual budget.

Its proposed restructure includes a possible 35 redundancies – approximately a third of the 118-strong workforce.

In response to the crisis, the trust furloughed 98 members of staff and stopped all discretionary spend.

Iain Standen, the chief executive officer of Bletchley Park, said it has also identified savings within its annual budget, including reducing costs in marketing, new exhibitions, travel, IT, printing and introducing new processes to improve the efficiency of the organisation.

"While these will help reduce the financial impact in the short-term, they alone are not enough," he said. "The medium- to long-term implications of social distancing and living with the consequent lower visitor numbers, has meant the need for a radical review of the trust’s organisation, spending and priorities."

Since Bletchley Park reopened on 4 July visitor numbers have grown slowly, but are about 50% lower than the same period in 2019 and remain unlikely to increase for some time.

A consultation period has now begun with Bletchley Park calling on members of the public to support it during this time.

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“It is with deep regret that I inform you that the trust needs to cut jobs," Standen said. "We have built a very successful heritage attraction and museum at Bletchley Park and its principal strength is its people. However, the economic impact of the current crisis is having a profound effect on the trust’s ability to survive. We have exhausted all other avenues, and we need to act now to ensure that the trust survives and is sustainable in the future.

The trust has secured some funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund's Heritage Emergency Fund.

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