- Average rise of 15p a month to help fund record conservation investment
- Charity responds to feedback with improved facilities, longer opening times and more visitor programmes
- Over one million members pay discounted rate
- Members benefit from unlimited access to 500 places and free parking
Annual membership of the National Trust will increase from March 1, 2017, by an average of £1.80 a year to help the charity fund record levels of investment in vital conservation work, and improve visitor facilities and experiences.
Money raised from memberships is vital not only to help the Trust care for 300 historic properties, 775 miles of coastline and 250,000 hectares of countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but also provide access to them for ever for everyone.
People walking, with Worms Head in the distance, Gower, Wales.
The Trust, which is largely funded through donations, memberships and legacies, spent a record £107m on conservation last year in maintaining, repairing and improving its houses, countryside and tenanted properties.
It also plans to spend an extra £300 million on addressing a backlog of conservation work by 2024.
The Trust said the extra funding would help it respond to what its members wanted including keeping its doors open for longer and at times which suit visitors. More properties than ever are now open for 363 days a year.
Members also benefit from free car parking at more than 170 additional countryside and coastal locations.
Members have also asked for increased numbers of events and more inspiring experiences along with better website and digital communications to keep them informed of what’s happening at Trust places.
In response, the charity is investing more money into visitor programmes and digital platforms, along with better parking, larger cafes and a greater range of activities at many sites.
Extra staff members have meanwhile been employed on the ground in the last twelve months to improve visitor experiences.
Visitors exploring the house at Lyme Park, Cheshire. Credit National Trust Image/John Millar
Individual adults will pay only £1.80 more for membership while Family membership increases by £3.60 a year.
The smallest increase in membership is for the Senior discounted category at an extra £1.10 for the year, rising from £47.50 to £48.60.
The Trust is continuing this discounted rate for Senior members who have held either an individual or joint membership for at least five of the last ten years, and is also continuing its Young Person’s concession for ages 13 – 25.
Currently, over one million members have taken up the discounted rate, which is the equivalent of one in five members.
Jackie Jordan, the Trust’s Director of Brand, Marketing and Supporter Development says:
“Our members’ support is absolutely vital to everything we do as a charity. The income from memberships helps us to look after the houses, coastlines, and countryside in our care on behalf of the nation.
“On average memberships will go up by around 15p a month and that will help us to plough money back into our biggest ever programme of conservation work, along with improving our facilities and visitor programmes.
“We’re responding to what our members tell us they want which will increase their enjoyment of our places. That’s why we’re opening more of our properties for longer and at times which better suit visitors, with many now open 363 days a year.
“We are investing in larger cafes and new shops, along with better car parking facilities and toilets, improved visitor reception areas, and more gallery spaces, events and outdoor activities.
“We couldn’t do all that we need to do without the support of our members and we want to thank them all for their continued support.
“We believe we offer great value for money. For around a fiver a month, a member can enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of Trust locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whilst helping to look after them for future generations to enjoy.”
See here for more information on National Trust membership