Dear Mrs Tate and members of the Chelmsford & District Supporter Group
Thank you for your letter of 14 July. I am responding on behalf of Tim Parker and our Board of Trustees to address your concerns for the future of our supporter groups.
It’s true to say that members of National Trust supporter groups are some of our most ardent supporters; they have been lifelong members of the National Trust and some have been active members of their own groups for decades. As you say, you are a group of proactive “doers” who find ways - at times through wind, rain and the Essex clay - to support the places you love. Last year you raised over £3,800 to benefit nine of our properties and, since 1987, when our database records began, you have raised over £117,000. This has helped dozens of your special places over the years including Anglesey Abbey, Danbury Commons, Hatfield Forest and Ickworth. Thank you for all your hard work and generosity.
Throughout this crisis, we have been thinking of supporter groups alongside our staff, volunteers and members, and we have tried to keep you connected and updated. We know that, when lockdown started, the activities of all our supporter groups had to be paused, so our Supporter Group Development Manager, Danielle Albracht, was furloughed for a period of time on the government scheme. This decision to furlough 80% of our staff helped us retain vital funds when we needed them most. The gradual reopening of our places has meant that staff are being brought off furlough; Danielle has recently returned and would be delighted to get back in touch with Chelmsford & District Supporter Group. Prior to this crisis, she was working to address all the points you raised in your letter, and she is now resuming that work, but looking through the lens of Covid-19 and changes ahead for our organisation.
We sincerely value all our supporter groups, and we will continue to need your support as we reset ourselves and face into our “new normal” while still looking after our special places for everyone, for ever.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write, and for your longstanding support of the National Trust.