Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham, has announced an additional £1.1 million of grant funding for the Jersey Heritage Trust (JHT).
The extra funding has been allocated from savings identified elsewhere in the departmental budget and will be used to support JHT in recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
In most years, the JHT self-generates half of its total income, mainly through membership fees and gate receipts from visitors to the sites. However, following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020, JHT had to close its six visitor attractions including both Mont Orgueil and Elizabeth Castles, Jersey Museum, the Maritime Museum and La Hougue Bie.
After lockdown restrictions were lifted, JHT sites were very popular with islanders, including for staycations at their Heritage lets properties. The number of membership subscriptions has also increased by approximately 1,000 over the pandemic period. While this has helped to mitigate the income shortfall, the JHT still faces major budget pressures and has had to postpone some projects, including maintenance to Hamptonne farmhouse.
The additional funding will enable the JHT to manage and maintain the Island’s heritage sites, and ensure the Trust can continue to fulfil its statutory and regulatory roles.
The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: “Jersey Heritage Trust performs an essential public service: it ensures that the Island’s heritage is accessible to the general public, not only through the management of 35 invaluable sites, but through their ongoing work with schools and colleges, the management of public records at Jersey Archive and advising on the preservation of historic buildings.”
“The pandemic has had a particularly severe impact on the JHT, which plays an important role in our visitor economy and is heavily reliant on tourists for revenue. This funding will help the Trust to work through the challenging period and continue its stewardship of Jersey’s unique heritage.”
Tim Brown, Chair of the Jersey Heritage Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to Senator Farnham and his officers for approving this top-up fund, which will enable us to keep our staff and their expertise, as we continue to protect and care for the Island’s very special history.
“Like many organisations, we have been hard hit by the outbreak of COVID-19, and the corresponding drop in visitor numbers. In response, we have made huge cuts to our services and reduced our heritage work to compensate for the drop in income. However, we know that our own actions would not have been enough to secure the future of the Trust until 2021.
“I’d like to thank the Government for its strong support, and thank Islanders and Members, who continue to demonstrate how important Jersey’s heritage is to the general public.”
Government of Jersey News Release.