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Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

UK Government Awards Heritage Organizations $113 Million While Recipient National Trust Cuts 1,300 Jobs

Though word is still awaited as to when arts organizations including museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues will receive aid from the UK’s $1.73 billion bailout package revealed in July, the government has announced its first major disbursement of cash from the fund, with 445 heritage organizations sharing $113 million in Covid-19 rescue grants. Awards of between $11,000 and $1.1 million issuing from a $73.6 million fund earmarked for “costs for operating, reopening and recovery” will be made to 443 recipients, while an additional 12 nationally important organizations will split $37.4 million intended “to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.”

Among the recipients of the latter monies are UK conservation charity National Trust, which will receive $6.6 million, according to The Guardian. If that sounds like a lot, consider that the organization, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, announced today that it will cut 1,296 jobs in order to save $110 million. Five hundred and fourteen of the redundancies will be compulsory, while 782 will be voluntary. The organization said in a statement that it had originally planned the compulsory job cuts to be more than double the final figure. Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, the union to which National Trust workers belong, acknowledged the “pressure” the trust is under but described the cuts as “devastating,” while Hilary O’Grady, the Trust’s director general, contended that in order to “give the charity a sustainable future” there had been “no other choice.” The trust aims to trim an additional $45 million in costs by curtailing travel and office costs, and by forgoing print ads in favor of digital marketing.

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