York Minster in the time of Covid: Annual report published

York’s annual report makes for hard reading 

York Minster in the time of Covid: Annual Report Published

“Covid has changed the world and changed us all. The Community at the Minster came together during 2020 to weather the storm with courage, with tenacity and with care for one another. We take heart from what was achieved during a time of great difficulty and affirm our commitment to continuing to serve one another, and to ‘Living Christ’s Story’ in our City, our Diocese and our Province – as the Minster has done for over 1000 years.” Dean of York, the Very Revd Jonathan Frost.

York Minster has published its annual report and accounts which show the catastrophic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its finances.

The accounts to the year ended 31 December 2020 show a net deficit of £2,317,000 before gains on investments in comparison to a surplus of £332,000 in 2019.

York closed its doors from mid March until the end of June and then re-opened with severely limited capacity to help keep people safe.

This resulted in a drastic reduction in the total number of visitors and worshippers to the Minster in 2020 with just under 147,500, compared to almost 706,500 in 2019.

The largest single income stream – from sightseeing visitors – dropped by £3.7m (74%) to £1.3m (compared to £5m in 2019). Overall total income decreased by 40% to £6.5m (£10.4m in 2019).

The loss in visitor income was partly offset by significant additional emergency grant support from the York Minster Fund and central Church of England funds, the Government’s furlough scheme and a small grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Emergency Fund to cover reopening costs in summer 2020.

Operating costs for the year reduced by £1.2m as a result of reduced activity levels and the actions taken to achieve savings.

However, overall after investment gains, York Minster experienced a £2m loss for the year, with a £2.5m loss on unrestricted funds offset by gains in restricted funds.

The Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York, said that the unprecedented financial and economic emergency caused by Covid-19, had required a rapid and resolute response from Chapter to protect the Minster’s reserves and to secure York Minster itself as a going concern.

Dean Jonathan said: “Between April and May 2020, the Chapter of York provided decisive leadership and clear direction to enable and initiate a restructuring for sustainable growth.

He said that this meant there would need to be a restructuring to reduce the Minster’s cost base to deliver greater integration and effectiveness of work-streams; and a sustainable organisation so that there could be growth – not merely survival – in every area of operational activity designed to deliver the Minster’s core purpose and mission.

Dean Jonathan said:

“In two phases of restructuring the Chapter of York took hard but, I believe, the right decisions: to close its Minster School; to secure the future of York Minster’s internationally renowned choral tradition through a new partnership with St Peter’s School, York; and to work with elected staff representatives to deliver a process which saw, with great sadness, the departure of 55 valued colleagues from the Minster’s staff community.

“Covid has changed the world and changed us all. The Community at the Minster, drawn from all those who serve here, lay and ordained, paid and volunteer, came together during 2020 to weather the storm with courage, with tenacity and with care for one another. We take heart from what was achieved during a time of great difficulty and affirm our commitment to continuing to serve one another, and to ‘Living Christ’s Story’ in our City, our Diocese and our Province – as the Minster has done for over 1000 years.”

The document, Annual Report and Accounts 2020 is on the York Minster website at www.yorkminster.org