The Trustees of the Whithorn Trust are happy to report that they have received a donation of £10,500 from the John Liston Scottish Charitable Trust to help them survive this year.
The financial difficulties facing the Trust have been covered by the media this year and a combination of donations and tight budget control have meant that the organisation will be in a position to continue for this financial year. The visitor season is now in full swing and, in addition to the permanent exhibition of the internationally important artefacts from the excavations at Whithorn Trustees are moving forward with their temporary exhibition programme. The new exhibition is a collection of memorabilia owned by Margaret Wilson reflecting her lifetime obsession with Dance and the call is out across Dumfries and Galloway for the invited show in September entitled Wood and the Trees.
Following on from their business plan, produced last year, the Trustees are now looking forward. In recognition that there will be the same pressures next year Trustees are planning to review operations, to investigate new funding streams, to widen and increase the audience base with innovative use of new technologies, to develop a new service offering to better promote the area thus bringing and retaining more visitors, and finally to restructure the organisation to become more sustainable in the future.
In order to carry out this important work Trustees are applying for a Heritage Lottery Transition Fund grant and will be launching a fresh fundraising appeal in the next week.
Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “This news will come as a great relief to the Trustees. I know it has been a real struggle for them to secure funding from other sources after the council cut back their contribution. This donation will be a real short term boost to the work of the Trust and will give them some breathing space as they look to the future.”
“Everyone knows that funds are tight and the council have a lot of competing priorities. Organisations that previously received funds from the council are now having to look carefully at their structures and operations because those funds are simply no longer there. But what frustrated many local groups was the council’s decision to cut by nearly a third the funding for civic pride which Area Committees use to support local organisations. Making such a major cut in a single year, with no warning or transitional support, has meant there are dozens of groups across the region in a similar position to the Trust in not really being given any time to adapt to reduced funding.”