New row over Trust future

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Dumfries and Galloway Council has told the Whithorn Trust it must become “more business-like” and look for alternative funding to survive.

For this financial year the council only supplied 30 per cent of core funding. That left the Trust, which showcases 
some of the most important archaeological finds in the country, with an £18,000 shortfall.

Fundraising has 
reduced that to £10,000 but, with an eye on alternative funding, the Trust is hoping to apply for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. But to get it, it needs a guarantee from the council that it will get financial support for next year.

A council spokesman said: “Last year, the Whithorn Trust was allocated £46,000 from Wigtown Area Committee in recognition of the transitional process. How­ever, £16,000 of this was held back pending the Trust producing a business plan.

“All local organisations are treated equally when being assessed for funding, and they are asked to provide evidence of how the money will be spent. Our council has made it clear to organisations seeking funding that they must become business-like and sustainable and be able to source core funding from elsewhere.

“This is against a picture of reducing budgets and increased applications from local organisations across Dumfries and Galloway. Officers have provided information and advice on sources of grants and on business planning.

“Despite this advice, direction and support, the Trust requested a greater level of funding from the 2013/14 Wigtown Area Committee discretionary budget than during 2012/13. No progress was shown towards financial sustainability. This year the Whithorn Trust received £32,125, which was the maximum award it could receive from Wigtown Area Committee – the largest award given to any voluntary organisation by the committee.”

Whithorn Trust project manager Janet Butterworth said: “As a social enterprise we raise £56,000 a year through our own trading activities so we are business-like.

“The council says that it 
is working with us on a sustainable business plan but it hasn’t been in touch with us about it.”