York Museums Trust warns of job losses after £1.5 million shortfall

Kirkgate in the York Castle Museum
28 Jul 2020 @ 9.29 am
| News

York Museums Trust is preparing to make redundancies after exhausting all forms of funding.

The trust runs the York Art Gallery, Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum, York St Mary’s and the Museum Gardens.

In a statement today, it said:

  • The significant financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on York Museums Trust means that we will be entering into consultations with staff, which may regrettably lead to some redundancies.

    York Museums Trust’s survival depends on reduction in costs to offset huge losses in income.

More than 70% of its income comes from the sale of tickets and other revenue from museum visitors.

Its attractions have been closed since March, leading to a loss of £1.5 million so far.

The Castle Museum and Art Gallery are due to reopen on Saturday (1 August).

No date has been set for the reopening of the Yorkshire Museum.

Staff consultation

York Art Gallery reopens on 1 August. Photograph: YorkMix

Even with the reopening, the trust is forecasting a significant reduction in visitor numbers and income.

It says everything has been done to source alternative funding, including an emergency grant from Arts Council England which has helped it survive till 30 September.

“Details have not yet been announced about the government’s £1.57bn relief package for cultural institutions and the scale of York Museums Trust’s loss of income means the trust must reduce costs further to survive,” the statement said.

“Yesterday we informed our recognised trade unions of our intention to enter into staff consultations which may lead to some redundancies.” 

‘I am devastated’

Reyahn King. Photograph: York Museums Trust

Chief executive of York Museums Trust Reyahn King said: “I am devastated that the huge financial impact of COVID-19 on York Museums Trust has led us to this point.

“York Museums Trust looks after much of York’s important and cherished art, culture and heritage and as custodians it is our duty to ensure that we can continue to do this.

“We have exhausted every type of government aid currently available, negotiated rental agreements and tirelessly sought other ways of reducing our costs, but we are now in a position where we have to make some very difficult decisions.

“It is only by doing this that the charity will be able to survive and continue to share and care for York’s collections.”

Ms King thanked everyone who has donated to the trust over the past few months.

“We can’t thank you enough and we are determined that the charity will continue to fulfil its mission inspiring people, sharing and caring for the very special art and collections, gardens, buildings and heritage sites in York. ”