Almost half of staff at Birmingham Museums Trust facing redundancy

The charity which manages some of Birmingham’s best loved museums is consulting on job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

About half of staff at Birmingham Museums Trust have been placed at risk of redundancy.

The trust runs nine sites across the city, including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Thinktank, Aston Hall and Sarehole Mill.

The news comes despite a public campaign raising £25,000 which was launched after failing to secure emergency funding from Arts Council England (ACE).

A statement said: “It is with regret that Birmingham Museums Trust has entered a period of redundancy consultations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Around half of our staff have been placed at risk of redundancy.

“We are working hard to do everything possible to ensure the future of the Trust.”

The statement said the Trust is in discussions with its funders Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England while it waits to hear more details about the £1.57bn Government’s support package for the cultural sector.

The statement continued: “The fact remains that without significant additional funding our charity faces a challenging future. At this stage we anticipate a considerable drop in visitors and the loss of income from our cafes, shops, tickets and other commercial activity is unsustainable. We have been enterprising, secured what funding and support we can, and have reduced our costs, but we now need to cut back further and this is how we have reached the painful decision to consult staff about redundancies.”

Niels de Vos, chair of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Birmingham Museums Trust is a not-for-profit organisation without large reserves. Since April a large proportion of our staff have been furloughed and with this scheme coming to an end, we sadly can’t save everyone’s jobs.

“Only when visitor numbers and spend return to pre-coronavirus levels will our business model break even again. We desperately want to avoid redundancies, but we must do what we can to secure the future of the charity so that Birmingham Museums can be back open to inspire, educate and entertain the people of this great city once again.”

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