22 May 2020
Dear Landmark Supporter,
Given the extraordinary times we are living in, I wanted to let you know what has been going on at Landmark and how we are responding to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
On 23 March we announced the closure of all Landmarks, including all those on Lundy, as the only way to keep our guests, staff and local communities safe. All bookings until 21 June have been cancelled and we have made contact with everyone affected, offering a voucher towards a future booking or refund.
We do not, of course, know when we will be able to re-open so we have been battening down the hatches to protect our buildings and our staff during this period. All our housekeepers and a significant proportion of other staff have been put on ‘furlough’, regular building checks have been put in place and we are making full use of other forms of government support available to us.
The restoration of Fairburn Tower, which was just beginning, has been paused in accordance with Scottish government advice. At the Semaphore Tower in Surrey our contractor has been continuing to work, closely following the rules on safe working practice. All public events and open days for the coming weeks have been cancelled as have all day sailings to Lundy.
Given that the vast majority of Landmark’s funds come from bookings, from which we are now receiving no income, this is clearly a very difficult time for our charity. Unlike other heritage bodies we have no state backer or financial endowment to fall back on. However there are things to take comfort from. The funds raised for the restoration projects currently on site are restricted and remain secure. The forthcoming project to restore Calverley Old Hall has been paused, but we fully expect to resume work later in the year ahead of a fundraising appeal, and were thrilled to receive news a few weeks ago that the National Lottery Heritage Fund intend to award the project a substantial grant.
With our buildings closed and a national crisis underway, we have been in touch with NHS trusts across the country to offer Landmarks to NHS critical workers free of charge, in the hope that this might be a small assistance in their crucial work. We are delighted that this is being taken up, including in providing accommodation for doctors being moved to parts of the country where they are most needed and for those rapidly adapting hospitals to increase critical care capacity. Further detail is on our website.
Many of you have been in touch in recent weeks to offer words of support and to make new bookings and donations, for which we have been enormously grateful. We believe that with your continuing support Landmark can weather this crisis. We look forward beyond all things to the day when Landmark craftsmen can take up their tools once again, and our housekeepers can safely heave our great doors open to welcome guests.
Until then I want to express our immense gratitude for your support, and our wishes for good health over the coming weeks.
Dr Anna Keay, Director