The Annual Report shines a light on the incredible achievements of local residents, businesses, community groups and Heritage Foundation staff in a year of unprecedented upheaval and challenge which triggered its greatest financial crisis.
The Report also reflects on the rapid and successful response to the pandemic delivered by the Heritage Foundation, its partners and the community-at-large, including initiatives such as the Community Response Team and the Covid-19 Catalyst Grants Scheme which awarded a total of £113,099 to support of the town. Beneficiaries included Wilbury Junior School, Stevenage Against Domestic Violence, Carers in Herts, The Settlement, Headway Hertfordshire and the Salvation Army.
The revised Strategic Plan continues to focus on improving life chances, making Letchworth a great place to live and driving investment in the town, but now a fourth objective has been introduced – initiating a financial recovery roadmap in response to Covid-19’s impact.
CEO Graham Fisher explains: “The Annual Report captures many uplifting stories and is a celebration of how the community came together during the pandemic. However, whilst the Heritage Foundation is in a strong position overall, 2020 saw us dealing with some enormous financial pressures, losing over 20 per cent of our income and resulting in significant rent arrears from commercial tenants.
“As a result, we were forced to make some very difficult decisions, closing a range of services and making valued colleagues redundant. Our ability to fund and support services is dependent on income from our property portfolio so we must work with tenants to re-stabilise this area.
“Overwhelmingly, last year underlined how well-positioned the Heritage Foundation is when it comes to understanding ways to mobilise and respond to changing local needs. I’m excited to take that spirit into the future as we seek ways to support the town with changes and challenges in many areas of life including workspaces, housing, tackling poverty and loneliness, and improving wellbeing. The team and I look forward to working with the community on our combined recovery.”
A new Strategic Plan for 2022-27 will be published later next year.
Members of the Letchworth community are welcome to contact the Heritage Foundation with questions or comments about the Annual Report and revised Strategic Plan, and can get in touch via email@example.com.