Dear Landmark Supporter,
As we near the end of an exceptional year, I wanted to write with an update on how the Landmark Trust has been faring.
This year is one of those very rare times when the word ‘unprecedented’ really does apply for our charity. We closed all 200 of our Landmarks for nearly four months between March and July, something that has never happened in our 55-year history. More recently many have had to close again for a shorter period in response to the second wave of the virus. The impact has been enormous, almost 80% of Landmark staff have spent time ‘on furlough’, and during these periods of closure we have forgone all letting income.
It has been a hugely testing time for so many, and we have done our best to help. During our long spring closure, we operated a scheme to give free accommodation to NHS staff working on the Covid front-line and were so pleased that many of our Landmarks could be home to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals during that terrible time. From the first we offered refunds to everyone who had a booking for a building that we were forced to close and we quickly introduced deferral functionality to enable anyone to move a booking - at no cost - up to a fortnight before a stay.
As soon as we were able to reopen we did so, having put a great deal of work into ensuring our buildings were safe and ‘Covid secure’ for our customers and colleagues. We were absolutely thrilled that, despite all the year’s challenges, Landmark was rated by ‘ Which?’ as the UK’s number one holiday cottage provider.
We are extremely lucky to have recently benefitted from a number of government schemes, including the Culture Recovery Fund, and that our Urgent Appeal for Lundy was successful in safeguarding the island’s future. We have also managed to keep our building repair and rescue work going - restoration has continued on Semaphore Tower in Surrey, which will be ready for its first guests early in the new year, while we have recently resumed the repair of Fairburn Tower near Inverness. Lots of maintenance is underway and, looking ahead, progress on our forthcoming project at Calverley Old Hall in Yorkshire will soon be picking up again.
This challenging year has been a reminder of how time with friends and family in a place of beauty and inspiration really matters. It has made many of us think more about the important things in the world around us – which can only be good.
I want to thank you so very much for sticking with us through this difficult time, and to send sincere thanks and good wishes from all of us at Landmark to you and your family.
Dr Anna Keay OBE, Director