Facebook makes £1 million donation to Bletchley Park

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Facebook has donated £1 million to Bletchley Park after losing 95% of its income during lockdown.  

The site in Milton Keynes is famous for being the home of the World War Two codebreakers whose work saved thousands of lives.

In August, the Bletchley Park Trust, which runs a museum at the site, said it expects to lose £2 million by the end of the year because of a drop in visitor numbers.

Facebook said the donation was in recognition of the Buckinghamshire house's "legacy" as a birthplace of modern computing.

Bosses say the donation from Facebook will help "keep its doors open for future generations and "preserve the park's visitor experiences and learning programmes.'

"We are very grateful to Facebook for their generous donation which highlights the ongoing legacy of pioneering technology developed here during World Wa Two," Iain Standen, Chief executive of Bletchley Park.

"With this significant support, the Bletchley Park Trust will be better positioned to operate in the 'new world'."

Bletchley Park Trust is a registered charity, heritage attraction and independent museum

Steve Hatch, Facebook's vice president for northern Europe, said the social network's own work on new technologies "would not have been possible without Bletchley Park."

"The historic achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team have benefited all of us greatly, including Facebook, and we're thrilled to help preserve this spiritual home of modern computing," he said.

"The UK is our biggest engineering hub outside of the US and responsible for building technologies to keep our community safe, for the future of work and commerce, and for the exciting world of VR and AR.

"This wouldn't have been possible without the legacy of Alan Turing and his team and our hope is that Bletchley staying open inspires the next generation of engineers."

The Trust said around a third of staff will be made redundant due to the impact of the pandemic, following its four-month closure.

85% of its staff were furloughed at the start of lockdown and managed to secure some additional funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, but Mr Standen admitted that jobs cuts would now be a necessity to ensure the trust's future.