In response to the recent public announcement about the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Bletchley Park Trust, Facebook has generously given a £1 million donation to support its work over the next two years.
The Trust also welcomes news this week that it will benefit from £447,000 in support from the Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Culture Recovery Fund.
This grants programme is part of the Government’s £1.57 billion package to support the UK’s culture and heritage sectors from the economic impacts of Covid-19 over a 6-month period. Many organisations have received news that they will benefit from this funding. This support will contribute to the Trust’s operational running costs for this period, and therefore alleviate some of the £2M deficit we anticipate in 2020.
Facebook’s donation, given in recognition of the importance of Bletchley Park’s ongoing legacy as a birthplace of modern computing, will help ensure the Trust’s future survival. The donation will enable the continuation of Bletchley Park’s recognised and award-winning visitor experience, exhibitions and learning programmes. It will also save some at-risk roles that otherwise would have been made redundant, retaining important skills and experience across a range of the museum’s functions.
Iain Standen, CEO of Bletchley Park, said: “We are very grateful to both Facebook for their generous donation and DCMS for their financial support. Facebook’s donation highlights the ongoing legacy of pioneering technology developed here during World War Two. Whilst the Culture Recovery Fund demonstrates how vital it is to the nation to save heritage sites like Bletchley Park. With this significant support, we at Bletchley Park can weather the current crisis and survive into the future, keeping the doors open for future generations.”
Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, said: “The work carried out at Bletchley Park in World War Two helped shape the country we live in today and it is vital to preserve this legacy for generations to come. This funding from Facebook builds on more than £400,000 provided by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to Bletchley Park Trust and will enable it to continue its important work long into the future.”
Steve Hatch, Facebook’s Vice President for Northern Europe, said: “The historic achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team have benefited all of us greatly, including Facebook, and we’re thrilled to help preserve this spiritual home of modern computing.
“The UK is our biggest engineering hub outside of the US and responsible for significant technology developments including the Artificial Intelligence that keeps our community safe. This wouldn’t have been possible without the legacy of Alan Turing and his codebreaking colleagues, and our hope is that Bletchley staying open inspires the next generation of engineers.”
Facebook has been in the UK for over a decade and is home to more than 3,000 employees, of which more than half are highly skilled engineering roles. They have built dedicated teams to develop Artificial Intelligence technology – a technology which only exists because of the ground-breaking achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team. The donation to Bletchley Park builds on the work Facebook already does to encourage next generation tech talent in the UK including working with Girls Who Code, Primary Engineer, and the Royal Academy of Engineering to inspire young people to be the engineers of tomorrow.
Bletchley Park Trust is a registered charity, heritage attraction and independent museum, open daily, whose mission is to attract, engage and educate people from all over the world in order to inspire them with Bletchley Park’s crucial role in World War Two. As an independent charity, it relies on income from visitors, Friends and supporters to secure the long-term future of the site.
Prior to the pandemic, the Trust’s business strategy would have ensured its long-term survival. However, the loss of over 95% of its income during its four-month closure, and reduced visitor numbers since reopening on 4 July, meant the Trust anticipated a £2m deficit this year.
Bletchley Park is open daily to visitors, who can explore atmospheric set dressed codebreaking huts, immersive exhibitions, and enjoy the beautiful, spacious grounds. It has received Visit England’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark in recognition of all the safety measures in place for visitors and team members. Under 12s visit for free. Pre-booking essential.