This is the one hundredth posting for the Ashridge Volunteers’ Blog, so a big thank you to those who have contributed over the last six months. There are plenty of topics and events to report at Ashridge, so the blog should go from strength to strength.
The National Trust is by any measure, an extraordinary organisation, inordinately rich and powerful and yet greatly loved. Founded in 1895, its governance underpinned by several acts of parliament, it now has more members (4.5 million) than any other similar organisation in Britain – and it goes without saying, four times more than all our political parties combined. Its income, generated from memberships, revenue from property and legacies, rose this year by over five percent to £522m, and while it spent more than it earned this year– £541m, part of a drive to catch up with a backlog of conservation costs – there is seemingly no cause for concern: its total assets stand at £1.13bn. In its ownership are 775 miles of coastline, 1,357 scheduled ancient monuments, and nearly 1,000 square miles of land including over 300 historic buildings, 59 villages and 61 pubs and inns. At this time of year, it has some 10,000 members of staff. Significantly, it also has 61,000 volunteers in its employ; enthusiasts both young and more often old, whose labour is valued at somewhere in the region of £43m!
The Trust is increasingly focussed on reaching a wider range of people and the volunteers are expected to be an integral part of the campaign through engagement and outreach.
Thanks to David Humphreys for his contribution.