Redundancies at Ely Cathedral as management team projects £700,000 deficit because of Covid-19 pandemic

PUBLISHED: 11:53 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:16 12 October 2020

Ely Standard reporter Ben Jolley interviewing the Dean of Ely Reverend Mark Bonney about the impact of Covid-19 on Ely Cathedral. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Ely Standard reporter Ben Jolley interviewing the Dean of Ely Reverend Mark Bonney about the impact of Covid-19 on Ely Cathedral. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

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Redundancies have been made at Ely Cathedral as its management team projects a deficit of £700,000 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ely Standard reporter Ben Jolley interviewing the Dean of Ely Reverend Mark Bonney about the impact of Covid-19 on Ely Cathedral. Picture: HARRY RUTTEREly Standard reporter Ben Jolley interviewing the Dean of Ely Reverend Mark Bonney about the impact of Covid-19 on Ely Cathedral. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Having been closed for three-and-a-half-months throughout lockdown, and with half the normal number of visitors coming through its doors since re-opening to the public in July, the management team have had to “tighten our belts”.

While 80-90 per cent of its staff placed on the government’s furlough scheme, redundancies have since been made.

Dean of Ely, the Vey Revd Mark Bonney said: “As well as being a place of worship, of course there is a business side of running a cathedral.

“This great place takes quite a bit of money to keep it going and for those three-and-a-half-months we had zero income - no events happening, no visitors, our shop and refectory outside were closed.

Hand sanitiser stations, social distancing signage and limited capacity as Ely Cathedral welcomes visitors.Hand sanitiser stations, social distancing signage and limited capacity as Ely Cathedral welcomes visitors.

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“That had a considerable impact on us,” he added, saying that March to July is usually their busiest time for visitors.”

MORE: Hand sanitiser stations, social distancing signage and limited capacity as Ely Cathedral plans to welcome visitors for private prayer

While it was “what we were budgeting for, roughly, until we get somewhere back to normal, we have had to make some voluntary and compulsorily redundancies”.

“We have had to trim our organisation into the foreseeable future,” he said, adding that those affected had all previously been furloughed or partly furloughed.

Looking ahead, Revd Bonney said that “next year, again, we’re looking at an unhealthy three-figure deficit - but we are fortunate to have some reserves to help us through that.

“If it continues much longer than that, we’ll be in severe difficulties.”


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