Glasgow museums charity faces uncertain future

Web kelvingrove art gallery and museum wikimedia commons

Glasgow Life has said it has lost out on millions during lockdown, and faces challenges in reopening the city's much-loved attractions

3rd July 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The charity which operates Glasgow’s most loved museums says it faces an uncertain future.

Glasgow Life has said it could be October by the time all of its venues are reopened, despite recognising that residents are keen to visit attractions after months in lockdown.

The arms-length organisation, which operates popular attractions such as Kelvingrove and the Riverside, has said it has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 1,000 staff on furlough.

Last year more than 18 million people used its services but the first quarter of 2020/21 has been largely lost. The organisation’s 61 venues are set to return in four phases, between July and October.

Dr Bridget McConnell, chief executive of Glasgow Life, said it will take a while for normal service to be resumed. She said: "Without doubt, the effects of this crisis will be felt for some time to come.

"We need to make the correct decisions now, such as prioritising childcare and education, to help maintain vital services in local communities and support the city's economic recovery in the longer-term.

"There are no easy solutions and it's highly unlikely that Glasgow Life will be able to return to anything like its normal service provision in the near future."

Glasgow Life chairman Councillor David McDonald said it was recognised that residents of the city will want to return to the attractions as soon as possible, however the safety of staff and visitors is paramount.

He said: "The complete shutdown of Glasgow's museums, libraries and sports venues for more than three months, together with the cancellation of most of the city's events and festivals this year means the millions of pounds of income which supports our services has been wiped out."

He said the charity has had to create "an entirely new set of operating practices" at a time of unprecedented financial and staffing constraints.

McDonald said: "This includes undertaking risk assessments, testing key building systems, installing screens and public sanitiser stations, delivering revised hygiene and safety training to our staff, implementing new booking systems and consulting with our trade unions. It's not a case of just reopening our doors and returning to the way things were.

"Social distancing also means that a large proportion of our venues are unable to reopen safely, and we'll need more staff than before to be working at the venues we do reopen to ensure current restrictions are followed."