Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to furlough staff in response to COVID-19

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is placing the majority of its staff on temporary leave under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cut costs and protect jobs against the impact of the global pandemic.

As the independent charity which cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Trust relies on the annual income generated by visitors from around the world, mainly in the summer months. The five Shakespeare family homes and gardens, shops, cafes and the Shakespeare Centre have been closed since 16 March and the Trust is now facing a substantial shortfall in its income.

The charity is placing 221 members of staff (136 Full Time Equivalent roles) on furlough under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which ensures they can be paid 80% of their salary up to a ceiling of £2500 per month. Furloughed staff will remain employed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust but will not carry out work for the charity for the period of their furlough.

The Trust has 28 staff who are not covered by the Scheme and will be undertaking a consultation process with them.

A limited number of staff will work remotely from home to ensure business continuity, security, compliance, planning and communication.

Tim Cooke, CEO of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “Alongside many museums, heritage and cultural organisations we face significant financial pressures while our doors remain closed to visitors.  As an independent charity which generates 98% of its own income, those pressures are especially keen.  We are acting now to secure a long-term footing on which we can build as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank all of our staff and volunteers for their commitment to advancing our charitable purposes, and for the resilience and creativity they have shown in adapting to this unprecedented situation.

“We are also hugely grateful to those who have made a donation to help the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust carry on in these uncertain times. We need that support more than ever. Our charity has been around since 1847, weathering and surviving all manner of storms and circumstance. I have no doubt we shall do the same again.”