National Trust reveals plans to boost spending post-pandemic

The National Trust has pledged to invest just under half a billion pounds on conservation projects over the next three years.

The charity’s director general Hilary McGrady says three quarters of the money will be spent on houses, collections and gardens. This amounts to £360m.

The rest (£113m), will be spent on coastal and countryside projects.

The charity's three year spending pledge totals £473m, which amounts to just over £157m a year.

It follows a cut in spending during the Covid-19 pandemic but is still around £10m below the charity's pre-pandemic annual spending level.

In 2019/20 the charity spent £168.8m on conservation projects. This figure was halved to £83.3m in 2020/21 during the health crisis.

The spending plans have been revealed by the charity’s director general Hilary McGrady at its annual general meeting at the weekend.

She also announced that the charity has seen a marked increase in members post-pandemic, with a member joining every 23 seconds. August 2021 was the charity’s third most successful recruitment month, when almost 160,000 people joined.

“After the last 18 months, I think we deserve an opportunity to celebrate," McGrady said.

“2022 is set to be an extraordinary year of national events, and I’m pleased to say the Trust will be proudly joining in.

“The pandemic has given us all cause to reflect. At 126 years old, thanks to your support, we’ve endured World Wars, economic crises and now a pandemic, and we’re still here. Together we are still working for nature, beauty and history – for everyone, for ever.”

Hunting ban

At this year’s annual general meeting National Trust members voted overwhelmingly to ban trail hunting on the charity’s properties. The resolution to ban the practice was carried 76,816 to 38,184.

A call to ensure defibrillators are available at National Trust properties was also carried, 59,370 to 55,602, despite the charity urging members to vote against this resolution. This applies to properties with more than 40,000 visitors and are open at a charge.

Meanwhile, a resolution around volunteer management was narrowly defeated. This had urged the charity to ensure that charity treats its volunteers “in a thoughtful and respectful way”.

The National Trust had urged members to vote against the resolution, saying that its purpose “is not clear”.

It added: “We always strive to treat our volunteers in a thoughtful and respectful way: we simply could not operate without their vital work.”

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