The National Trust for Scotland is Scotland’s largest conservation charity. It was established in 1931 to protect historic buildings and countryside for people to enjoy now and in the future. Today the Trust cares for over one hundred sites covering 78,000 hectares. These include castles, mansions, cottages, islands, mountains, coastlines, woodlands and battlefields.
Most of The National Trust for Scotland places have been declared inalienable through special powers given to the Trust by Parliament. This means that they are held for the nation, and protected, permanently.
How does the Trust work?
The Trust is governed by a Council and holds an Annual General Meeting. Volunteers can apply for election to the Council - other members are from local authorities and organisations relevant to the Trust’s work. A senior management team supervises the Trust’s activities through the departmental managers.
There are several hundred full-time employees – some are based in central office, or area offices, but most work on the heritage sites. Staff numbers more than double in the summer when seasonal staff work on the sites. Trust volunteers outnumber paid staff. Volunteers are all ages; they bring a range of skills to the Trust and work in all departments. They also provide support through local member groups.
Trust departments cover heritage conservation, learning and interpretation, marketing and commercial enterprise. Check out all the departments on the National Trust for Scotland’s website.
You can also find out about the Trust.
The Trust has a number of Principles and Policies that ensure its work meets the highest standards. The 3 main ones are: the Acquisition Policy (acquiring heritage sites), the Conservation Principles, and the Enjoyment, Access and Education Principles.
How is the Trust funded?
The Trust, like all charities, has to find many sources of funding. Core funding comes from membership subscriptions together with donations. Donations include regular payments by individuals and one-off responses to particular Appeals. The Trust also receives company donations and sponsorships.
Two important areas of support are the annual maintenance grant from Historic Scotland, for buildings, and the Concordat agreement with Scottish Natural Heritage which helps fund much of the Trust's countryside work.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has contributed vital funds towards large capital projects - for instance, Culloden and Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. HLF also provides grants for some smaller projects - for instance, for learning activities or specific conservation tasks.
Several of the Trust Members’ Centres and Support Groups fundraise for the Trust.