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GWCT calls for vital funds to continue essential work

Rumours that the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is in financial difficulty have been confirmed

GWCT wetlands project

Man-made wetlands project at the GWCT's Hall Farm, Loddington, Leicestershire

A letter to members of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) from chief executive Teresa Dent CBE, has illustrated the extent of financial support urgently needed by the Trust.

In spring the charity was forced to cancel its fund raising events and lost its paid work due to the COVID-19 shutdown. As a result income has dropped dramatically.

In the letter to members Ms Dent warns: “We don’t know what the next few months will bring. The immediate impact on the Trust is likely to be a loss of £1m, which is 15% of our projected income. Income may fall considerably for some time, so trustees have taken measures to protect future activity. Sadly, we have already had to place many staff on furlough and reduce most others to a four-day week.”

Accounts filed with the Charity Commission show that the Trust has been steadily increasing both income and expenditure over the past five years, bringing in £8.5m last year and spending £8.7m.

The GWCT is appealing for donations to go towards making up lost revenue.

Ms Dent continued: “When people make wild accusations or use bad 
information to argue their agenda, our research comes to the fore. We can call 
upon more than 50 uninterrupted years of data from farmland in Sussex, 25 years of annual count data in the uplands, and 
11 years of tagging 10,000 salmon on the 
River Frome. But if we can’t pay our scientists, this all stops.”

Trust member and Shooting Times contributor Richard Negus said:“People with a passion for British wildlife regard the GWCT as a trusted and practical conservation organisation – regardless of whether they shoot or not. “The sport we enjoy today, and the increasing dovetailing of farming and conservation, is in no small way thanks to the meticulous work of the GWCT’s scientists and field workers. Personally, I believe membership of the Trust should be mandatory if one shoots game, they are that integral to the wellbeing of our sport and many of our most threatened species.”