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Charity hits back at newspaper

National Trust refutes 'bourgeois' cliams of broadsheet newspaper

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A national newspaper has attacked the National Trust for being “bourgeois” and a reserve of the middle classes. But the attack has come at a time when the National Trust’s annual report has highlighted unprecedented levels of public support for its work in protecting and caring for heritage. The attack, which appeared in The Guardian on 6 September, was immediately rejected by the NT’s head of media, Julian Lloyd, who said: “I felt it was a very cut up, choppy piece and there was confusion in the article about what we are trying to do.” The trust looks after 248,000ha of countryside and membership has reached a high of 3.1 million, while visitor numbers have reached 12.6 million for the year. The report points to the continued success of the trust’s Farming Forward initiatives in influencing government policy on farming and regeneration of the countryside. But The Guardian stated that in returning to the vision of the charity’s founders, “for all, for everyone”, the trust needs to champion the cause of environmentally friendly farming, as well as making properties more relevant to everyone. Lloyd commented: “We are sympathetic to the aspiration of catering for all sections of society and are keen to take initiatives on environmental issues and accessibility for everyone.” There is a proposal to reduce the National Trust’s 52 strong governing council to a centralised body of 12 to streamline decisions and make them accountable and transparent in terms of where they come from. National Trust director general Fiona Reynolds said: “The value of what we do is clear to millions, and public support for our conservation, campaigning and education work has never been greater.”

This article was first published on Horticulture Week

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