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Almost half of museum trust staff in Birmingham facing redundancy

Almost half of the staff at Birmingham Museums Trust have been placed at risk of redundancy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The trust, which runs nine sites across the city, made the announcement due to a drop in income caused by the crisis.

It comes despite £25,000 raised through a public campaign to keep it running – with chiefs expressing their sadness at the situation.

Niels de Vos, chairman of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: "Birmingham Museums Trust is a not-for-profit organisation without large reserves.

"Since April a large proportion of our staff have been furloughed and with this scheme coming to an end, we sadly can’t save everyone’s jobs.

"Only when visitor numbers and spend return to pre-coronavirus levels will our business model break even again.

"We desperately want to avoid redundancies, but we must do what we can to secure the future of the charity so that Birmingham Museums can be back open to inspire, educate and entertain the people of this great city once again.”

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The trust runs nine museum sites across Birmingham – including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the city's award-winning science museum Thinktank.

Chiefs have said they are doing "everything possible" to ensure the future of the trust, with discussions held with Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England.

They are also waiting to hear details about the £1.57 billion Government support package for the sector – and will apply when they can.

But they have stressed that without "significant" additional funding they will struggle to survive – with costs being cut and redundancies now on the cards.

A statement added: "Our staff are the heart of organisation, they care deeply about what they do and are always keen to share their infectious enthusiasm for culture, heritage and science with others.

"We are proud of what Birmingham Museums Trust has achieved thanks to our dedicated staff, and how they have adapted during this very challenging time.

"Those affected have been contacted and no final decisions on redundancies will be made until the consultation process has been completed."