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National Trust for Scotland outlines £100m investment plan for next decade

Threave Garden and Estate is one of the National Trust for Scotland’s properties (Mike Bolam/The National Trust for Scotland/PA)
Threave Garden and Estate is one of the National Trust for Scotland’s properties (Mike Bolam/The National Trust for Scotland/PA)

The National Trust for Scotland is to invest £100 million in its sites over the next decade as part of a new strategy for its future.

It has committed to becoming carbon negative by 2031 as part of its plans, which are based around the aims of conservation, engagement and sustainability.

The trust hopes to expand its membership base to more than half a million people across Scotland over the next decade, and increase the number of people welcomed to its sites to more than six million per year by 2032.

It also plans a programme of projects and investment, with a £38 million spend planned for 2021–2024, and the intention to invest £100 million across the lifetime of the strategy, supported by the trust’s fundraising work.

The trust is carrying out conservation work on Staffa (National Trust for Scotland/PA)

The charity is currently recruiting for around 300 seasonal and permanent roles to deliver its new 10-year vision, titled Nature, Beauty and Heritage for Everyone.

In 2021, NTS had 317,000 members and approximately two million visitors, which was significantly below the number of visitors before the pandemic.

Philip Long, chief executive of the trust, said: “We’ve begun an exciting new chapter for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), building on the experience, knowledge and skills we’ve gathered over the last 90 years, throughout which time our charity has received phenomenal support from its members and many others.

“Everyone can benefit from Scotland’s heritage and from the work of the trust, and in the years ahead we want to involve as many people as possible in this.

“Our new strategy is a response to all that our charity has achieved over its long history, and to the current health, economic and environmental challenges which affect everyone.”

Projects include improving the infrastructure and conservation work on Staffa in the Inner Hebrides.

The island, famed for the hexagonal basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave which inspired 19th century composer Felix Mendelssohn, is home to a significant colony of puffins.

On the Small Isle of Canna, the trust is continuing to work in partnership with the community, restoring Canna House to better care for its collections as well as developing new visitor and community facilities.

In Dumfries and Galloway, the Threave Landscape Restoration Project is transforming 81 hectares of land at Kelton Mains into rich habitats for flora and fauna, restoring the site’s wetlands and native woodlands.

Elsewhere, a visitor gateway building is being created at the Corrieshalloch gorge in Ross-shire.

Mr Long said: “In creating our new strategy we’ve set out a framework that charts our ambitions for the trust’s 10th decade, describing our intended achievements: from becoming carbon negative by 2031, through to championing Scotland’s heritage for everyone, restoring and protecting habitats, historic buildings and landscapes and uncovering and sharing more of our nation’s stories to a larger and more diverse audience of six million annual visitors.

“We’re also recruiting colleagues to bring even more experience to our dedicated and passionate team throughout the country, to allow us to realise these ambitions.”

Established in 1931, NTS cares for more than 100 sites, from ancient houses to battlefields, castles, mills, gardens, coastlines, islands and mountain ranges.

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