Like many charities in Oxfordshire, the Earth Trust – one of the major countryside land management bodies in the county – is experiencing financial challenges as the Coronavirus continues to disrupt economic and social life.
In a letter to supporters, the chief executive, Jane Manley, says they need to protect the heart of the organisation and be in a position to build again from a strong platform once the restrictions have been lifted and the economy recovers.
“We have already lost and will continue to lose income that was anticipated this year. The income for us to deliver our charitable objectives is generated from a variety of sources such as school-visits, traditional fund-raising such as lambing weekends, and hiring Fison’s Barn for weddings, conferences and parties.”
“With the loss of income we have to make major cost savings. We have looked at how we share tasks, train staff in other roles and make sure we have enough healthy staff to do this critical work. Many of our staff have taken a period of furlough leave which allows us to access to government support to pay up to 80% of their salary.”
While some staff are furloughed, others are reducing hours or gifting their time, and Mrs Manley says she is enormously proud and humbled by the way the Earth Trust has been pulling together through a difficult time.
As funds dry up during the lockdown period, Earth Trust is examining different grants, funds and schemes. Mrs Manley said that as an environmental charity that provides accessible green spaces, the organisation tended to fall through the national and local government support nets.
Mrs Manley added: “Our environment needs more care and support at this time than ever before.” Earth Trust is asking for donations or for people to become a Friend, which is the membership scheme.
More information on the Earth Trust website: https://earthtrust.org.uk/