This is a letter from concerned Longstanding Members of the National Trust living in Chelmsford and the surrounding area.
14th July 2020.
For the attention of: Hilary McGrady, Tim Parker, and members of the Board of Trustees.
We are a group of long-standing members of the National Trust, a few of us for 50+ years. Some of us have also been Volunteers, serving on our local Supporter Group committee for 15 to 30 years. In that time, we have raised thousands of pounds. Over the five years to February 2019 we donated £22,042. These contributions have paid for part, or all, of the cost of many, many items and projects, at lots of different properties in this area.
We have spent hours preparing for, and running stalls of goods and home-baked refreshments in Open Gardens, on Northey Island, and at the Essex and Young Farmers’ Shows, where one year we sank nearly up to our car axles in Essex clay and wrestled with putting up a tent in high winds and driving rain.
Numerous day Coach Outings have been organised, Group Holidays arranged to visit so many beautiful places all over our country, very often to NT properties, as well as attending Christmas Fairs where we sell beautiful handicraft items and preserves, all made by enthusiastic NT members.
We have done all this gladly, and most of the time enjoyably, because we are “Doers”. We believe in being proactive, we do not sit back and expect everything to be done for us. Inevitably we are all getting older, but we keep going because we believe in supporting the work of the Trust.
However unfortunately, for some unfathomable reason, the Trust does not give us the support we really need. Yes, we appreciate your thanks for raising money, but what we urgently need is for our Supporter Groups to be given the recognition, and the publicity, that will make our activities known to new, and long-standing members of the Trust. People who have been Members for years do not know that Supporter Groups exist!!!
We feel very badly “let-down” by the Trust over many years. New and younger NT members are not attending our activities for the simple reason that they know nothing about Supporter Groups, and what they have to offer. Now that our Committee members are coming up to retiring, there is a huge lack of volunteers to take their place. If the Trust had regularly publicised information about Supporter Groups in the past, we would not be in the unfortunate state that we find ourselves in today.
It is a great shame that the work of Danielle Albrecht has been unavoidably suspended, but it means any progress we had hoped for, will probably not take place for another 18 months to 2 years. Where will the new volunteers come from if they do not know Supporter Groups exist?
Because of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic the NT needs all the support it can get.
Please Help us to Help You!
Jackie and Alan Arnot
Paul and Janet Chaplin