Shakespeare Birthplace Trust warns of redundancies

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has announced it is in consultation with its employees as it looks to cut costs in response to the impact of the coronavirus, which it says will result in an £8.5m loss of income for 2020.

The charity says it intends to re-open Shakespeare’s Birthplace this summer but that the other four Shakespeare Family Homes and Gardens — Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place, Hall’s Croft and Mary Arden’s Farm —  will remain closed until “at least spring 2021”.

The Trust is an independent charity that normally generates 98% of its own income, dependent on its ability to welcome 850,000 visitors each year.

Its sites, shops and cafes have been closed since March 17, with a resulting loss of almost 90% of income.

Tim Cooke, chief executive of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “Last week we received news of a £900,000 award from Arts Council England’s emergency fund and this gives us the opportunity to re-reopen Shakespeare’s Birthplace this summer. That is a real step forward. We will announce more details shortly.

“However, with the enforced closure of our properties, shops, and catering venues in March, we will suffer a loss of £8.5m of income  for 2020, with a challenging financial picture for 2021. In addition to this loss the Trust itself is investing significant cash this year in maintaining its limited operation.

“Like many organisations operating in the culture, tourism, hospitality and retail arenas the Trust has to look at its costs. Regrettably, this will mean a reduction to our workforce and the Trust is in consultation with its employees to look at options to reduce employee numbers, wherever possible through a voluntary redundancy scheme, and changes to working arrangements.

“We have no option but to act and to seek the support of others to ensure that our charity is able to survive the impact of Covid and build a recovery plan.”