The last few months have been a challenging time for the Dartington Hall Trust, but I’m pleased to share that our recent reorganisation is nearing completion and we are moving forward into a new decade for Dartington.

There are some exciting developments happening on the estate, including:

New biomass heating for Hex and Gym and Schumacher College

Work has begun on repairing the Hex roof that will help us expand our brilliant arts programming 

Revitalised Schumacher College degrees that will be cheaper and more accessible but still offering the important transformational learning for which the college is renowned

New degrees in the arts that herald the launch of a new arts school

The start of work on the restoration of the Old Postern, home of Schumacher College, with work expected to complete in time for the 30th anniversary of the college – all funded by a dedicated £2m gift that was the largest in the history of the Trust

Work has begun on a new choral piece commissioned by Sara Mohr-Pietsch, the new artistic director of Dartington’s Summer School & Festival, inspired by Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, as part of 250th anniversary celebrations. It will include Dartington Primary School children, Totnes Young People’s Theatre, the refugee network and the Transition Town network – and premiere in the summer.

 The combination of savings through restructure and ultimately eliminating our pension fund deficit means that we have reduced our annual deficit by c. £1m.  This is a massive step forward and a great sign that we can continue to work towards our overall aim –to operate in a way that delivers our important mission in a sustainable way.

With increased costs and challenges in these times, the emphasis is for the Trust to find sustainable and long-term solutions.

As part of this we are proceeding with the sale of a number of properties on the estate, alongside selected commercial property and land.  Residential properties are being sold with clauses in place that mean that DHT will have first refusal on buy-back, and the properties cannot be used as holiday homes, preserving the integrity of the estate.

We have established regular meetings with members, volunteers and tenants; meetings with individuals and groups who are concerned about our future and worried about some recent plans and decisions. We will continue to meet and engage with our stakeholders to create a secure and exciting future for the Trust.

As a Trust, we are fundamentally resetting our way of approaching our finances so that we can deliver our mission and purpose and establish a way of doing so that is financially sound for the long term.

When we achieve this we will have a solid platform to continue to deliver world-class learning and arts programmes; transformational learning and research that offer insight and solutions into some of the great challenges of our time; and an incredible place to visit, stay and enjoy our hospitality.

There is much more to report and I look forward to sharing further exciting news and progress in the coming months.

On behalf of all the directors and trustees at Dartington Hall Trust,

Alan Boldon

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