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70 jobs under threat at Cornwall's Eden Project

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

The Eden Project

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One in seven staff at Cornwall's flagship tourist attraction the Eden Project could be made redundant, it emerged last night.

For the second time in 12 months, staff at the environmental attraction, near St Austell, were yesterday told that their jobs may be at risk as it looked to cut costs by £2 million a year.

The Eden Project, which currently has 445 full-time equivalent posts, confirmed up to 70 jobs could be lost as it looked to make major savings across "all areas of its operation".

It said far fewer visitors had come to Cornwall in 2012 due to a "combination of the Olympics, poor summer and autumn weather and the lasting effects of the recession".

Coupled with "enormous pressure on income in the charity sector" and difficulties in fundraising, the charity said it needed to "make substantial cuts to the cost base".

Eden also said that six months of developing a partnership in China to build a version of the project there had taken resources, as there has been no ready access to new funds to support the initiative. However, it is hoping to go to full contract on the scheme over the next six weeks after signing a deal with the Chinese government and other agencies.

In a letter to staff, Sir Tim Smit, Eden's chief executive for development, said of the pending job losses: "No sugar-coated pill will ease the anguish for those affected, all we can say to those of you who will be leaving is thank you so much for all you have given Eden and we hope you will depart feeling a great deal of pride in all you have achieved in creating a very special place, for now and for the future."

In February last year, the Eden Project confirmed it was to make up to 35 staff redundant after posting a loss of almost £2 million in 2010-2011.

The tourist attraction is run by the Eden Trust charity. Accounts posted on the Charity Commission for England and Wales' website showed it recorded a small surplus of £136,052 in 2011-12.

The previous year it lost £1,778,374 with its income of £31,849,974 lower than its outgoings of £33,628,321.

The trust's net debt in March 2012 stood at £5.3 million compared with £7.7 million in March 2011.

Research for Eden Project's tenth anniversary in 2011 showed it has hosted 12.8 million visitors since it opened and generated £1.1 billion for the regional economy.

While visitor numbers for 2012 are not yet known, totals have been falling.

The visitor head count rose slightly in 2011, having seen a little over one million visitors in 2010, although they were 2.7% down on 2009.

In turn, the 2009 total was 6% lower than the attraction had enjoyed in 2008.

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  • jimjams2011  |  January 29 2013, 9:24PM

    Only 70 sacked? With 445 staff in total there must be loads of people sitting around doing nothing at that glorified greenhouse.

    |   4
  • crgee  |  January 29 2013, 3:52PM

    Does anyone have any details of how they spent £33,628,321 in 2011 seems an awful lot of money...

    |   4
  • Doitdreckley  |  January 29 2013, 3:17PM

    445 staff are a vital part of the economy of mid Cornwall. Think of their spending power in terms of goods and services. Eden itself sources an awful lot of its goods and services from Cornwall. An attraction like this needs to develop - the summer concerts are great but could do with being more diverse - so perhaps an indoor music venue could be developed. There may be a problem with 'image', middle class carrot crunchers who look down on those who don't spend more than £5 on a chicken (because they can't afford it). There is also an issue about whether and ho much Eden owes to the Cornish taxpayer but the REALITY is that without public sector intervention in so many walks of life in Cornwall then work and 'wealth' would be very difficult to come by.

    |   6
  • Tstrunk  |  January 29 2013, 1:38PM

    "Eden £66" "While visitor numbers for 2012 are not yet known," wot didn't anyone count them? Trago mills liskeard is a better day out anyway.

    |   -3
  • tachoman88  |  January 29 2013, 1:32PM

    Got to agree with Lafrowda .... "If they can't make that monster pay with the EXORBITANT entrance fee & inflated shop prices then either someone is "creaming" the profit or they are paying the management & staff too much. OR It simply assumed that because it was "Green" the taxpayer would underwrite their hobby."

    |   5
  • Gurnards_Head  |  January 29 2013, 1:17PM

    Presumably it will be the minions at the bottom of the heap who most need the jobs that will bear the brunt of the cuts. Perhaps it would be more egalitarian and in line with Edens charitable status were the "big cheese" faction at the top of the midden to lead by example and take pay cuts to bring them in line with local wages to see what effect that has before embarking on a mass cull of more lowly jobs that however menial are still badly needed by locals. What ever the outcome any potential begging bowl must be ignored, the thing must stand on its own merits without public subsidy, as with any operation there will be cost savings there to be made, greenwash is no excuse for profligacy which may have cut the mustard in better times but this is the real world where even well run operations are currently struggling.

    |   10
  • manicstreet  |  January 29 2013, 1:02PM

    445 staff? whatever are they all doing. High time this taxpayer funded jolly that hides under the umbrella "charity" was closed.

    |   -1
  • crgee  |  January 29 2013, 12:33PM

    Eden £66 for a family of 4.. Trellisick £18, Lanhydrock £30 says it all really.

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  • crgee  |  January 29 2013, 12:32PM

    Eden £66 for a family of 4.. Trellisick £18, Lanhydrock £30 says it all really.

    |   2
  • barkingmad  |  January 29 2013, 12:04PM

    Have to say the increasing spread of dog banning on beaches 24/7 instead of just after 8 and before 7 like it used to be in high season has massively put us off coming to Cornwall and as such we now take all our holidays elsewhere (& I know others that feel the same). We like to go on holiday with the whole family and feel compelled to go elsewhere, its a long way with an expensive petrol cost to get there and this just adds insult. As for Eden they need to do something for the middle age group of kids 6-11 (that doesn't involve me spending another £30!!!) as its all aimed at grown ups or little ones and my kids don't want to go now they are older yet loved it.

    |   7