The National Trust is not recession-proof, warned its director-general, Dame Fiona Reynolds. Speaking at a media briefing in the Trust’s George pub in Southwark, she said, ‘The one certainty is uncertainty. We don’t know how this year is going to shape up. We’ve seen real pressure on our shops and cafes.
 
‘It’s not dramatic, but our turnover last year was down. People are searching for value and are also challenging capitalism. They are choosing the really authentic things, time with families, beautiful views.’
 
Dame Fiona confirmed that membership (3.6 million) and visitor numbers are holding up, but that people are spending less in the shops and cafes. The Trust will be working on special family offers and on keeping food prices down this year, and is hoping that the trend for increased British holidays will be in their favour.
 
The Trust is embracing the ‘plot to plate’ zeitgeist with a commitment to producing a 1,000 community ‘allotments’—old kitchen gardens, community gardens and orchards, and allotments—by 2012. Growing spaces will be available at 40 National Trust locations and interested people can apply via www.landshare.net
 
Welcoming the scheme, gardening guru Monty Don commented, ‘All politicians should have an allotment and if they don’t keep it up, they should lose their jobs!’

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