Statement on Staff Consultation & Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage

As a registered charity, The Sussex Archaeological Society has been dramatically impacted by the social and economic crises of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having lost a significant percentage of our self-generated income since the beginning of the year, we continue to face much uncertainty around when our properties can fully re-open and operate safely for our members and visitors. We are sadly not alone in these difficult times. The heritage sector is facing unprecedented challenges with many historic properties and sites across the country considering the possibility of permanent closure and/or looking to reduce costs by cutting staff hours or making redundancies.

Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers are central to the life of our charity and we are privileged to be the guardians of eight historically important sites across Sussex. It is therefore with sadness that we are commencing a period of consultation with staff on a proposal to help reduce payroll costs including some proposed redundancies.

At every stage of the crisis, we have worked hard to limit the impact of the financial challenges on our staff, who we know care passionately about our archaeological and heritage collections and properties and in the future of the Society. We have taken every possible measure to secure our financial position, actively using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other grant schemes available to us, including a maximum emergency grant award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in parallel with careful management of all our resources. We are now however at a critical point where we need to do more to survive for the longer-term.

This decision comes on a day when we wanted to share the news that our application to the Culture Recovery Fund has been successful. The grant of £497,500 has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and is allocated in order to help the Society survive until 31 March 2021.

Coupled with the proposed restructure, we are confident the Cultural Recovery Fund grant can help the Society begin to recover from the impact of the pandemic and look to rebuild as soon as circumstances will allow, hopefully over the 2021 financial year.

We are enormously grateful for the continuing support of our staff, members, trustees, donors and visitors, especially in these most difficult of times.