|Carwyn Jones MS|
|David Melding MS|
|Helen Mary Jones MS|
|John Griffiths MS|
|Mick Antoniw MS|
|Andrew White||Cronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri Genedlaethol|
|National Lottery Heritage Fund|
|David Anderson||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Justin Albert||Yr Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol|
|The National Trust|
|Pedr ap Llwyd||Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru|
|National Library of Wales|
|Manon Huws||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|Martha Da Gama Howells||Ail Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. COVID-19: Sesiwn dystiolaeth ar effaith argyfwng COVID-19 ar y sector treftadaeth, amgueddfeydd ac archifau||2. COVID-19: Evidence session on the impact of the COVID 19 outbreak on the heritage sector, museums and archives|
|3. Papurau i’w nodi||3. Paper(s) to note|
|4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod||4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for remainder of the meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:30.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 13:30.
Prynhawn da a chroeso cynnes, bawb, i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu yn ein Senedd genedlaethol ni. Croeso cynnes i'm cyd-Aelodau, ac, o dan Reol Sefydlog 34.19, dwi wedi penderfynu bod y cyhoedd yn cael eu gwahardd rhag y cyfarfod yma er mwyn diogelu iechyd y cyhoedd, ond mae'r cyfarfod yn cael ei ddarlledu'n fyw ar Senedd.tv, gyda phob un sy'n cymryd rhan yn y cyfarfod yn gwneud hynny drwy fideo. Bydd trawsgrifiad o'r cyfarfod yn cael ei gyhoeddi fel arfer.
Ar wahân i'r pethau sydd yn rhaid inni eu gwneud er mwyn cynnal y cyfarfod dros fideo, mae'r holl Reolau Sefydlog mewn lle fel arfer. Mae'r cyfarfod yn ddwyieithog, a bydd yna gyfieithu ar gael o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg. A gaf i ofyn i'm cyd-Aelodau os oes yna ddatganiadau o fudd? Carwyn Jones.
Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to this meeting of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee at our Welsh Parliament. A very warm welcome to my fellow Members, and, under Standing Order 34.19, I have determined that the public are excluded from attending this committee meeting in order to protect public health, but the meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, with all participants joining us via video-conference. A transcript of the meeting will be published as usual.
Aside from the procedural adaptations relating to conducting proceedings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements for committees remain in place. The meeting is bilingual, and simultaneous interpretation is available from Welsh to English. And may I ask my fellow Members if there are any declarations of interest? Carwyn Jones.
Jest i ddweud, fel rydych chi'n gweld o'r gofrestr, rwy'n aelod o'r Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol.
Just to say, as is recorded on the register of Members' interests, I am a member of the National Trust.
Diolch yn fawr, Carwyn. A jest fel bod pawb yn deall, rhag ofn bod yna broblemau cysylltiad gyda fi a fy mod i'n gorfod mynd mas o'r cyfarfod am unrhyw reswm, mae David Melding, yn garedig iawn, wedi cytuno i gadeirio yn fy absenoldeb.
Thank you, Carwyn. And just so that you're all aware, in case I have any connectivity problems and I have to leave the meeting for any reason, then David Melding has kindly agreed to temporarily chair whilst I seek to rejoin.
Felly, dŷn ni'n troi rŵan at eitem 2 ar ein hagenda ni, sef sesiwn dystiolaeth ar fel mae COVID-19 wedi gweithio ar y sector heritage, museums ac archives. Collais i'r Gymraeg am ryw reswm bryd hynny. Sori am hynny.
Croeso cynnes iawn i'n tystion. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am wneud yr amser i fod gyda ni. Os caf i jest ofyn i chi gyflwyno eich hunain. David Anderson.
We will now turn to item 2 on our agenda, which is an evidence session on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the heritage sector, and museums and archives. I lost my Welsh language for a moment there. Sorry about that.
So, a very warm welcome to our witnesses. Thank you very much for making time to join us. And if I could just ask you to introduce yourselves. David Anderson.
David Anderson, director general, Amgueddfa Cymru.
Pedr ap Llwyd, prif weithredwr a llyfrgellydd cenedlaethol.
I'm Pedr ap Llwyd, the chief executive and librarian at the National Library of Wales.
Hello, I'm Justin Albert. I'm director of National Trust Wales.
Helo, Andrew White ydw i, cyfarwyddwr Cronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri Genedlaethol yng Nghymru.
Hi, I'm Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales.
Croeso cynnes iawn i'r pedwar ohonoch chi. Jest fel eich bod chi'n deall, os ydych chi'n dod i mewn ar ôl i rywun sydd wedi bod yn siarad Cymraeg, mae yna amser bach, bach—rhyw bump eiliad—cyn bod y Saesneg yn dropio i mewn. So, jest cymera bach o bwyll os wyt ti'n dod i mewn ar ôl i rywun siarad yn Gymraeg.
Dechreuaf i felly gyda'r cwestiynu, ac os caf i ofyn i chi i gyd: sut ydych chi wedi, fel mudiadau, cydweithredu gyda Llywodraeth Cymru yn y cyfnod yma ynglŷn â gweithio gyda nhw o gwmpas cefnogaeth i'r sector a hefyd gweithio o gwmpas y rheoliadau lockdown? Dwi ddim yn gwybod pwy sydd eisiau cychwyn ar hynny.
A very warm welcome to all four of you. Just so that you understand, if you do make a contribution after a Welsh-language contribution, there is a slight delay until the English comes back to normal volume. So, do pause slightly if you are coming in after a Welsh-language contribution.
I will start with the questions, and if I could ask you all: how have you, as organisations, engaged with the Welsh Government during this particular crisis, in terms of working with them for support for the sector and also working around the lockdown rules? I'm not sure who'd like to start with that.
I'll ask David to come in. I'm sure you're not always this quiet. David, and then I'll bring in Justin.
Okay. Well, first of all, we kept in very close touch with the Welsh Government about the processes of lockdown and the timing of lockdown, and we were, I think, very, very swift to do this. And I have to say, our staff were absolutely brilliant. We closed down in two days, from being fully open, and we protected staff and we protected buildings. That side of it has gone very, very smoothly indeed there.
I think, in terms of liaison with Welsh Government in other areas, a really critical one for us was the discussions around furlough, and the application of furlough to us as a national institution in Wales. And, again, we had the full support of the Welsh Government in our application to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, and we're able, thank goodness, to get that money coming through now as well. That was critically important for us.
Otherwise, as events have unfolded over the last few months—for example, over Black Lives Matter—again we've kept in very close touch with the Welsh Government and worked with them. So, I'd say that it's been a very positive relationship.
Yes, I agree with everything my learned colleague has said. It has been a learning experience, learning as a sector, learning to work together closely, and Welsh Government has been taking a leading role. An example would be working with Cadw, who has taken a leading role with the sector, my sector of outdoor places and places, as well as Natural Resources Wales, so we could open together and share experiences in a way we have not in the past, just because we do different things, we're busy and so we don't always meet. I've felt fully informed and connected at all levels of Government within culture and within tourism, and we've been able to mutually share our frustrations and our successes.
So, it has been one of those experiences that, in this time of adversity, huge benefits are coming out in ways of working. So, I've felt informed, my teams have felt informed, but what's really important is that I can reassure my staff—we have about another 150 in Wales—that we are in communication, and Welsh Government is aware of the situation and the severity of what we're facing.
Thank you. Andrew White, and then Pedr. Andrew? You're still—. There we are.
Okay, sorry. Classic Zoom. We've been proactive in sharing our approach with stakeholders right across Welsh Government, and we conducted a survey back in March: 124 heritage organisations right across Wales responded and we shared those updates with Welsh Government ahead of publication. We also redesigned our funding to accommodate a heritage emergency fund.
In general, we've seen much greater collaboration both within the heritage sector and with Welsh Government. We continue to work with various fora, including Museums Archives Libraries Division, Cadw, the Welsh Museums Federation, to ensure that the emergency funding is going where it's most needed and to identify the gaps and signpost people to the most relevant funding sources. So, yes, we've seen a much greater collaboration during the period.
I should note that I'm heavily reliant on a briefing by my wonderful team in Wales; I'm in week five in this new position.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Does gen i ddim byd ond canmoliaeth i Lywodraeth Cymru am y ffordd maen nhw wedi cyfathrebu efo ni yn ystod y cyfnod anodd sydd wedi mynd heibio. Rydym ni wedi cyfarfod y Dirprwy Weinidog a'r Gweinidog bron bob yn ail wythnos, neu o leiaf unwaith bob tair wythnos, a mae'r cyfarfodydd hynny wedi bod yn help mawr i ni, ac yn adeiladol iawn hefyd. A'r gwir amdani ydy, mae o wedi bod yn batrwm ar gyfathrebu, ac mae gen i ganmoliaeth—dim ond canmoliaeth—i'r cyfathrebu sydd wedi bod rhyngddon ni, a dwi yn ddiolchgar i Lywodraeth Cymru am fynd i'r fath drafferth i sefydlu a chynnal y cyfathrebu iach sydd wedi digwydd.
Thank you, Chair. I have nothing but praise for the Welsh Government in the way that they have communicated with us during the difficult period that we've faced. We have met the Deputy Minister and the Minister almost every fortnight, or at least once every three weeks, and those meetings have been of great assistance to us, and they have also been very constructive indeed. And the truth of the matter is that it has been a pattern of communication, and I can only praise the communication that has existed between us, and I am grateful to the Welsh Government for going to such trouble to establish and maintain the healthy communication that has happened.
Diolch yn fawr iawn i'r pedwar ohonoch chi. Efallai ei bod bach yn rhy fuan i chi gael barn, ond, wrth gwrs, rydym ni wedi clywed yr wythnos hon fod yna arian sylweddol ychwanegol sydd yn berthnasol i'ch sectorau chi wedi dod o Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol yn ystod yr wythnos yma, ac mae diddordeb gyda ni i wybod a oes yna drafodaethau wedi bod o gwbl rhyngoch chi a Llywodraeth Cymru ynglŷn â sut efallai bydd yr arian hwnnw yn cael ei ddefnyddio yng Nghymru, neu a ydy hi'n rhy fuan i chi ddweud?
Thank you all four very much. Now, perhaps it's a little too early for you to have a view on this, but we have heard this week that there is to be substantial additional funding that would be pertinent to your sectors that's been provided by the UK Government this week, and I would just be interested to know whether there have been any discussions at all between yourselves and the Welsh Government in terms of how that funding could be used in Wales, or is it too early for you to say?
If I could answer first.
Wrth gwrs, mae hwn yn newyddion hynod, hynod, hynod o galonogol i'r celfyddydau a diwylliant, a roeddem ni'n croesawu eich llythyr chi, Cadeirydd, at y Dirprwy Weinidog. Dwi'n credu bod angen—. Dwi'n siŵr y bydd y pwyllgor hwn a ninnau fel sefydliadau yn atgoffa'n gilydd ac yn atgoffa'r Llwyodraeth fod hwn yn arian ar gyfer diwylliant yn ogystal â'r celfyddydau. Lle mae'r llyfrgell yn y cwestiwn, dydyn ni ddim wedi cael cyfle i drafod efo Llywodraeth Cymru, oherwydd mae hwn yn newydd sbon, felly. Ond liciwn i feddwl y bydd rhywfaint o'r arian yn cael ei ddefnyddio fel buddsoddiad yn ogystal ag er mwyn helpu unigolion a sefydliadau yn y cyfnod byr, ac y bydd yna gronfa o resilience yn cael ei sefydlu i sicrhau dyfodol y llyfrgell a'r sector, a llyfrgelloedd hefyd, oherwydd mae llyfrgelloedd lleol mor bwysig i ddarparu mynediad at wybodaeth. Dydw i ddim yn sôn am wybodaeth ddiwylliannol; dwi'n sôn am wybodaeth ymarferol hefyd, sydd yn medru cynorthwyo unigolyn sydd heb fynediad at y we ar hyn o bryd. Felly, mae o'n gyfle gwych i fuddsoddi mewn diwylliant yn ogystal â chynorthwyo'r celfyddydau.
Of course, this is hugely encouraging news for the arts and culture, and we welcomed your letter, Chair, to the Deputy Minister. I do think—. I'm sure that this committee and ourselves as institutions would want to remind each other and remind the Government that this is funding for culture as well as the arts. As far as the library is concerned, we haven't had an opportunity to discuss this with the Welsh Government, because this is hot off the press. But I would like to think that some of the money could be used as an investment as well as assisting individuals and organisations in the short term, and that a resilience fund could be established to secure the future of the library and the sector, and libraries in general, because local libraries are so very important in providing access to information. I'm not talking here about cultural information necessarily, but I am talking about practical information too, which can assist individuals who don't have access to the internet at the moment. So, it is an excellent opportunity to invest in culture as well as assisting the arts.
Diolch yn fawr. David Anderson.
Thank you very much. David Anderson.
I'd like to fully echo what Pedr has said; I think that, clearly, the first requirement is to ensure the continued existence really of local museums, local libraries and other organisations as well as national institutions, but I think it's also an opportunity to step back and think about purpose, and why we have the arts and culture in Wales. The distinctive qualities of culture in Wales are things that should be internationally celebrated, not just within the nation.
If we're thinking about the connectivity between cultural organisations and communities, that has really come out very, very strongly during the last few months, and we've seen, for example, that some of the heaviest users of our websites and our social media have been local communities connected with our museums. Our Collecting COVID project has had a lot of publicity and we've already had over 1,000 online responses, filling out forms and giving us information about lives. There are very, very moving stories coming through on this.
So, I think that we're here for social justice, we're here as a support for the welfare state, we're here to support communities and we're here to really provide a way forward: a hope, we would say, really, for Wales going forward. I think that this is a real opportunity to take this as a turning point and to really bring culture and arts to centre stage and to ask a lot of us. I mean, if not much is asked, nothing much will be done; if a lot is asked, much, much more could be done, and this is the time that I think we should take that opportunity.
Yes. Following two brilliant people is always very difficult because they've said most of what I want to say, but there are a few points to add to that. As David said, we are about social justice and the paper that he and Baroness Andrews did many years ago around this has been the foundation of so much that we are doing in Wales around our heritage and our assets. This is £57 million, it's a Barnett consequential, and it does need to be used right. I think that, obviously, the decisions for Government to make about exactly where it is spent are for Government, but I think the details are going to be absolutely important about making that work. Remembering that everything we do around—in my view—our culture and our arts and museums is for people, this is where this money needs to be to enable, I believe, people to still have access to these things. We have learnt over this COVID-19 time how people are much more in need of beauty, of outdoor space, a break from trauma and I think this money is going to be—it's remarkable, I think it's great and I trust Government will spend it well.
To echo the sentiments, I mean it is quite early to know, even with a Barnett consequential, whether it's going to be—well, I hope it will be allocated to similar purposes as Westminster have done. There are projects that have had to be paused or funds that have closed as a result of the COVID response, and we would welcome any opportunity to plug those particular gaps, particularly on new capital revenue costs that support engagement with communities.
Thank you, all. Could you, David, just tell us a little bit more about your Collecting COVID project? David Anderson, it's a really—. I was going to ask you a separate question about that, but you've already touched on it, so if you can just tell us a little more.
Well, the first thing to say is that Wales innovated in 1937: either the very first mass observation project in the United Kingdom or jointly the first, and that project actually ran for some decades. And so we've gone back into the archives, found the entries and the submissions that carried on over that period, and we've really taken that as the inspiration for the project again.
The difference this time, of course, is that it's available digitally, which it wouldn't have been then. But I would like to stress that we know that maybe 15 per cent or so of the population of Wales don't have any significant digital access, so we've also worked very, very hard to distribute it through our community partners. We've got 120 charities and other organisations that we work with very closely across Wales. They've been our agents, our supporters, to make sure that it's reaching people who otherwise wouldn't be reached.
We've had over 1,000 responses so far. What we've agreed is that we will then, when it's safe to do so, go out on the road and collect the significant objects that people have chosen as well, and they'll become part of the national memory, really, of this COVID period. We see this as continuing, though—it's not just a COVID project. This is an ongoing project into the future, a new way of collecting for us and for Amgueddfa Cymru.
That's really interesting, thank you very much. May I bring David Melding in to ask some questions, please?
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. I've got a range of questions, they won't be fully salient to all of you, each and every one, so please don't respond if you don't have anything significant to say. The first thing I want to look at, in terms of how COVID has affected the arts and heritage sector, is, really, the impact it's had on commercial income. And then I also want to look at any effect it's had on capital investment, and that's not just buildings. It would involve, also, investing in human resources as well and using the time—the fact that facilities are closed allows you to do other things. So, initially, a response on commercial activity and then capital investment.
Briefly, yes. Thank you for the question. Obviously, we closed down, and our shops, tea shops and cafes all had to close at the same time. We started opening our outdoor venues on Monday, on a booking basis. We have gone from having one of Wales's largest, I would say, restaurant chains, if you think about it, with our 20 to 30 cafes and things, to now having a grab-and-go coffee and sandwich option. We hope to be able to, within a few weeks, have a slightly larger option when we open our indoor places. So, it has had a dramatic effect on us.
It's also had an effect on those people who work with us commercially—the people who have a Volkswagen bug that they turn into somewhere from where they can sell lobster rolls on Freshwater West. We have a lot of people who live with us and use our places—outdoor pursuit companies that use the beaches—and we help them and support them. That has been a devastating one. So, yes, we will get back, but at the moment we've gone from 100 per cent to about 2 or 3 per cent at best.
Do you want a question on commercial and capital investment, or do you want to come to that later?
So, capital investment, obviously, we do a lot of building in Wales. Millions of pounds—I think we do about £15 million a year of major, major capital projects, if not more. We've had to stop the majority of them, where we can. We just no longer have the ability to keep on financing. Obviously, when we are legally obliged, we do, or if it's for health and safety, we are. So, we made an announcement about that, and that will have a dramatic effect on us, going forward.
Thank you. Anyone else want to add on the commercial impact? Andrew, and then I'll bring others in. Andrew White.
Yes, from reviewing our funded projects, we're seeing a huge impact across a variety of different projects. They seem to be dependent on the type of client, the location and the nature of the work itself. What we have seen is that larger projects seem to be faring better, possibly because of potential repeat business and larger buying power. Smaller projects definitely seem to be suffering from supply chain issues. More remote projects, is the other key theme coming out, seem to be suffering more.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Yn anffodus, mi oedd y llyfrgell mewn sefyllfa beryglus yn ariannol cyn i COVID-19 gyrraedd. Wrth gwrs, mae COVID-19 wedi dwysáu'r problemau a'r sialensiau ariannol hynny. Rydyn ni'n rhagweld, o ran incwm masnachol, y byddwn ni wedi colli rhyw 95 y cant o'n hincwm masnachol o ganlyniad i COVID-19. Wrth gwrs, rydyn ni wedi cau ers misoedd lawer, a phan fyddwn ni yn agor, oherwydd natur yr adeilad—y siop yn fach, y restaurant yn gul—mae'n edrych yn debyg iawn y byddwn ni yn methu agor y rheini tan tua'r gwanwyn. Felly, o ran incwm masnachol, rydyn ni wedi colli rhyw £600,000 eleni o arian, sydd yn hynod hynod bwysig i ni.59
O ran grantiau datblygu cyfalaf, mae Llywodraeth Cymru, yn ystod dwy, tair blynedd, wedi buddsoddi yng nghynnal a chadw yr adeilad, ac mae yna waith sylweddol yn digwydd ar hyn o bryd. Mae o wedi bod ar stop am gyfnod, ond mae'r gweithwyr a'r adeiladwyr yn dechrau dod yn ôl erbyn hyn, a dwi yn gobeithio y bydd y gwaith mewnol i'r adeilad wedi ei gwblhau erbyn yr haf.
Ond, os caf i ddweud cyn tewi, doedd neb ohonom ni yn barod ar gyfer COVID-19. Doedden ni ddim yn barod fel sefydliadau diwylliannol. Mi ydyn ni yn ddiweddar iawn wedi cyflwyno i Lywodraeth Cymru ein cynlluniau ni ar gyfer y grantiau datblygu cyfalaf, ac mi ydw i a fy mwrdd i hefyd yn y llyfrgell genedlaethol yn gweld y llyfrgell yn medru gwneud cyfraniad gwirioneddol ardderchog i economi Ceredigion ac i economi Cymru hefyd.
Dwi'n ein gweld ni, yn ystod y blynyddoedd nesaf yma, pe byddai yna grant cyfalaf yn dod i ni gan Lywodraeth Cymru, yn datblygu adeilad y llyfrgell yn Aberystwyth fel cyrchfan dwristiaeth ddiwylliannol o bwys. Nid yn unig fyddai hynny yn help i'r economi, ond byddai fo yn gwneud y sefydliad yma hefyd yn llawer iawn mwy gwydn ar gyfer argyfyngau fel hyn yn y dyfodol.
Thank you, Chair. Unfortunately, the library was in a financially precarious position before the arrival of COVID-19. Of course, COVID-19 has intensified the financial challenges and problems. We anticipate, in terms of commercial income, that we will have lost some 95 per cent of our commercial income as a result of COVID-19. Of course, we've been closed for many months, and, when we do reopen, because of the nature of the building—the shop is small, the restaurant is narrow—it does appear very likely that we will be unable to open those until around springtime. So, in terms of commercial income, we have lost some £600,000 this year, and that funding is hugely important to us.
In terms of capital development grants, the Welsh Government, over the past two or three years, has invested in the maintenance of the building, and there is substantial work ongoing. It has had to come to an end for a period, but the construction workers are now starting to return, and I do very much hope that the internal works will have been completed by the summer.
But, if I may say before I conclude my comments, none of us were prepared for COVID-19. We weren't ready as cultural institutions. We have very recently presented to the Welsh Government our plans for the capital development grants, and myself and my board within the national library do see the library as being able to make a very real and excellent contribution to the economy of Ceredigion and to the economy of Wales more generally.
I see us, over the next few years, if a capital grant came to us from the Welsh Government, developing the library building in Aberystwyth as a cultural tourism destination of some great value. That would not just benefit the economy, but it would make this institution far more resilient for crises such as this in future.
I'd like to echo what Pedr has said about the structural challenge, really, to our finances. We also carry a structural deficit, and this has come at us really very, very unexpectedly, of course. We're projecting to lose about £1.8 million of commercial income, net commercial income, this financial year. Obviously, it depends on certain assumptions about how quickly Wales will build back, but I think we're not being overly pessimistic when we say that. I think that this is why the furlough money was so critically important for us, really, because it enabled us to recover a good chunk of that.
In relation to that commercial money, though, it's not just the shops and cafes for us; it's also the events that we run. And, on top of that, there are also the changes of the structures of funding. Many of the funders that we normally apply to for funding have, quite rightly in many ways, changed the structure of and the priorities for their giving and, again—quite rightly—are giving more perhaps to the organisations that are not Government funded, rather than those that are. But, nevertheless, it has had an impact on us as well.
I think, in terms of capital, it should be stressed that we've got a capital maintenance backlog of in excess of £60 million for our eight sites. And some of these works are absolutely essential works that have to be done very quickly; others could be done over a 10-year period. But I think that we've, in a way, inherited, historically, a lack of investment in our buildings, and there will be consequences to that in the long term. And, like Pedr, we've had to put some of our works on pause there. We very, very much hope that the commitment that the Welsh Government has made over the last two years to capital investment will be able to continue after this as well.
One other commercial impact I want to stress, though, which is not actually museums, but is the knock-on for Wales, is we attracted until March nearly 2 million visitors a year, and nearly half of those are from outside Wales. The economic impact for Wales each year is about £83 million gross value added. So, we're giving back more than four times as much into the Welsh economy as it's costing the Welsh Government to pay for us to run each year.
Now, that GVA, of course, is the knock-on effect on the tourist economy in Wales—the hotels, the other tourist attractions that people visit, things like that. That, also, will be a huge loss, and, for me, jumping ahead, one of the absolutely critical things is for us to rebuild our visitors to our museums—and, again, for the local museums as well as the national ones—because that helps to pay for Wales altogether. We are a driver of economic development for Wales in all sorts of ways, not, actually, a net cost at all.
Thank you. They were very rich answers—well, actually, 'rich' is probably not the right word, but, anyway, they were very interesting answers, and I'd like to follow up if I had time, but I must move on, as we have only a set amount of time.
I want to look at conservation and archiving work, how that's gone on, those who are engaged in it, and then, also, educational activities. Because I think some organisations really have responded well in terms of providing that and that's not just to the formal education environment, or those who are in it, but also making things available on the net more generally. And in that regard, how has the way you've developed very quickly some new approaches—? The need to promote equality in the work—I think we've already had reference to Baroness Andrews in connection with that, and I'm quite interested in how you've been able, if you have, to weave that into this very rapid new working.
David, shall I start with you? David Anderson. Your microphone is on.
It is indeed. Yes, I made the mistake of not turning it off. I think the first thing is that, in terms of our conservation and archiving, obviously, that's a really big challenge, because we normally have our staff with the stuff inside the museum. Where it's been urgent to do so, and sometimes for the protection of works on the walls in galleries and in other locations as well, we have had staff go in in a protected way to make sure that the objects are kept safe. We've also worked closely with those museums across Wales that we've loaned objects to as well, to ensure that the works are safe with them too. We've asked our curatorial staff, likewise, to switch to much more online work around developing the knowledge around the collections. So, as far as it's possible to do so, without having the works in front of you, that work has continued.
Education, as you probably know, is really critical for us. We get over 200,000 schoolchildren a year coming to our different museum sites and we've thrown our efforts into supporting resources for Hwb and various other learning resources—our Minecraft museum project has been incredibly popular with children. We've also—again, picking up your points about the children who can't be reached digitally—worked very closely with Llamau, Barnardo's, Children in Wales and other organisations to take opportunities and resources out through those networks—through their physical networks, if you like. And I think one of the great lessons for us, really, is that the future is blended; it's digital, but it's also physical. And it's about making the maximum opportunity, really, from a combination of those two things, because we've had to do it this time around, otherwise some really challenged kids would've been left out completely.
Thank you. Justin Albert and then I'll bring Pedr in. Justin, I think your microphone is still off, I'm sorry.
How about now? Am I clear? Sorry about that. I think—[Inaudible.] Obviously, about 80 per cent of our staff are on furlough. We look after—I think we have 10, 12 accredited museums around Wales; more than anybody else. We've had to devise a new way of looking after our collections—and these are national Welsh collections in these houses. The National Trust is a Welsh asset; let's not mistake it for anything else. We've had essential task lists; we've made sure that we have enough people doing the essential tasks, looking after the places that we have in a safe way, and it's been a huge amount of work to get there, but we have managed it, just. And the lifesaver was having furlough.
On education, we are missing the people coming to our houses, but we are lucky, because we're not really about big houses and museums like David is; we're about the outdoors. So, most of our outdoor educational visits are coming back more rapidly, even though we've had, you know, the land we hold for you in Pembrokeshire, Snowdonia and Ceredigion all closed, it's now open and we're seeing schools coming back, we're seeing visits coming back, and that's where, I think, the trust gives its most—that's where we give the most back in education.
Ie. Diolch, Cadeirydd, a diolch i David am ei gwestiwn. Yn gyntaf, cadwraeth, ac, yn ail, addysg. Mae ein staff cadwraeth ni hefyd, fel yr amgueddfa, wedi bod yn dod i mewn yn ystod y cyfnod yma i wirio cyflwr ffisegol yr archif sydd gennym ni, ac rydyn ni'n hynod, hynod ddiolchgar iddyn nhw eu bod nhw wedi bod yn gwneud hynny.
O ran yr archif digidol a chasglu archif digidol ac archifo archif digidol, wel, wrth gwrs, dyma waith sydd wedi bod yn digwydd sydd yn medru cael ei wneud o gartref, ac mae hynny wedi'i wneud ar raddfa helaeth iawn, o ran casglu deunydd ac o ran gwneud copïau o wefannau ac yn y blaen. Felly, mae’r gwaith yna wedi cynyddu mwy, os liciwch chi, na pe byddai’r lle yn agored yn arferol.
O ran addysg, mi ydyn ni wedi bod yn darparu ac yn creu llawer mwy o gynnwys digidol a deunydd digidol dwyieithog i ysgolion a cholegau, ac mae gennyf i fanylion manwl, os ydych chi’n dymuno eu cael nhw ryw dro. Ond mae’r cynnydd yn y cynnwys digidol wedi cynyddu yn aruthrol yn ystod y misoedd diwethaf yma.
A’r ail beth arwyddocaol, dwi’n credu, yng nghyd-destun addysg ac addysgu a chynorthwyo’r ysgolion a cholegau, ydy ein bod ni wedi bod yn cynnal nifer o weithgareddau ar-lein yn ymwneud â’n hanes a’n diwylliant a’n casgliadau, yn arbennig, mewn webinars, seminarau, darlithoedd, cyflwyniadau ac yn y blaen. Ac yr un peth mae’r cyfnod yma wedi'i ddangos i ni ydy pe byddai’r adnoddau gennym ni, gymaint byddem ni, fel sefydliad cenedlaethol diwylliannol, yn medru ei gyfrannu’n fwy i fyd addysg Cymru a chynorthwyo'r bobl hynny sy’n gweithio yn y maes, megis. Ac mae hwnna yn waith cyffrous yr hoffem ni fod yn ei ganol o, felly.
Yes. Thank you, Chair, and thank you, David, for that question. First of all, conservation, and, secondly, education. Our conservation staff have been coming in during this period, as they have been in the museum, in order to check on the physical condition of our archive, and we're extremely grateful to them that they have been able to do that.
In terms of the digital archive and collecting that archive, well, this is work that has been ongoing and can be done from home. That has been done at a very great scale in terms of gathering materials together and in terms of making copies of websites and so on and so forth. So, that work has increased. There's been more of it than there would have been had the place been open physically.
Now, in terms of education, we have been creating and providing far more digital content and digital material, which is available bilingually, for both schools and colleges, and I do have some detailed information that I could provide you, if you would like. But the increase in the digital content has been immense over the past few months.
The second significant thing that I should mention, in the context of education, learning, and assisting schools and colleges, is that we have been holding a number of online activities related to our history, our culture, and our collections, particularly, in webinars, seminars, lectures, presentations and so on and so forth. The one thing that this period has demonstrated to us is, if we had the resources, what we, as a national cultural institution, could contribute to Welsh education and to assist those people who are working in the area already. And that is very exciting work that we would like to continue with.
Diolch yn fawr. Andrew, oes gyda chi rywbeth i'w ychwanegu?
Thank you. Andrew, do you have anything to add?
Jest i nodi rŷn ni wedi gweld ymateb gwyrthiol ac amrywiol dros y sector treftadaeth yma: prosiectau megis Kick the Dust, prosiect Hands on Heritage gan Amgueddfa Cymru—rwy’n siŵr bydd David yn gallu esbonio mwy am hynny—ac yn enwedig y gwaith maen nhw’n ei wneud gyda phobl ifanc o gwmpas ymgyrch Black Lives Matter. Ac mae CAER Heritage, CAER Big Dig yn annog pobl a theuluoedd i wneud pethau gartref, a’r Lost Peatlands Project, gyda theuluoedd yn profi natur.
Un o’r pethau rŷn ni’n ei wneud yw buddsoddi mewn gallu digidol y sector treftadaeth a sgiliau digidol—Digital Skills for Heritage.
Just to note that we have seen a very varied and, indeed, miraculous response across the heritage sector: projects such as Kick the Dust, the Hands on Heritage project by Museums Wales—I'm sure David would be able to explain more on that—and particularly the work they do with young people around the Black Lives Matter campaign. The CAER Heritage Project, the CAER Big Dig encourages people and families to do things at home, and the Lost Peatland Project, with families experiencing nature.
One of the things that we are doing is investing in the digital capacity of the heritage sector and investing in digital skills—Digital Skills for Heritage.
Diolch yn fawr. Diddorol iawn. David. David Melding.
Thank you very much. Very interesting. David Melding.
Thank you, Chair. I think I'll now ask my final questions as one integrated point. Naturally, people compare what's happening in Wales in terms of the regulations with what's happening in England—and I'm not into the business of, 'England or Wales right and vice versa wrong'—but, when you look at England, they are moving a bit quicker. Again, these are matters of degrees, and a few weeks, often, but they are moving quicker. So, museums opened again on Monday, or at least they were able to—not all have. And I think some of the National Trust sites also have been opening—for indoors, obviously, as well as out.
So, in your discussions with Welsh Government, are you comfortable about this happening fairly soon in Wales? And do you think that the type of guidance that's now going out in England about how to reopen, especially internal spaces and other facilities, is the right approach and effective guidance, then, for institutions?
Thank you, David. I'll start with Pedr. I can see hands going up.
Diolch yn fawr, David, am y cwestiwn. Dwi'n credu bod Llywodraeth Cymru yn troedio yn gyfrifol ac yn ofalus. Y peth pwysicaf ydy iechyd unigolion. Mae yna 121 wedi marw yn Lloegr ddoe neu echdoe i gymharu â nifer bach iawn, iawn yng Nghymru. Ond dydyn ni ddim yn bell ar ei hôl hi. Dwi'n credu y byddwn ni fel llyfrgell genedlaethol yn medru caniatáu i ryw 40 i 50 o bobl ddychwelyd yn ôl i'w gwaith wythnos i ddydd Llun, a dwi a David Anderson mewn trafodaethau rŵan ynglŷn â phryd y medrwn ni agor ein hadeiladau i'r cyhoedd, a dwi yn mawr obeithio y medrwn ni wneud hynny cyn diwedd Awst. Felly, dydyn ni ddim yn bell ar ei hôl hi, ond y gwir amdani ydy, fel prif weithredwr, dwi'n gyffyrddus iawn, iawn gyda'r arweiniad a'r canllawiau sydd yn dod o gyfeiriad Llywodraeth Cymru. Maen nhw'n gyfrifol, yn ofalus ac yn ymarferol.
Thank you very much for that question, David. I believe that the Welsh Government is taking a very careful and responsible route. I think the most important thing is public health. One hundred and twenty-one people died in England yesterday or the day before, as compared to a very, very low number in Wales. But we're not so far behind. I believe that we as a national library will be able to allow some 40 to 50 people to return to work a week on Monday, and myself and David Anderson are in discussions as to when we can reopen our buildings to the public, and I very much hope that we will be able to do that before the end of August. So, we're not too far behind, but the truth of the matter is, as chief executive, I am very comfortable indeed with the leadership and guidance provided by the Welsh Government. They are responsible, cautious and practical.
Diolch yn fawr. Justin.
Thank you very much. Justin.
If we can unmute again, please. You're still—
I agree, Pedr, and well said. We have been following the Welsh Government's guidelines from day one. It has diverged from what has happened in England, but it hasn't affected us in the way that we can do business as a devolved part of a large charity. It's given a lot of comfort and support, in my personal view, to the staff, and we have a lot—and also to our volunteers, of which we have 5,000, many of whom are in the more vulnerable 70 plus group. I echo that feeling that the very sensible, thoughtful way that we've looked at this crisis, and we've put the health and well-being of people first—and we're sitting here with four chief executives who have a lot of people we are responsible for, and they come first, as do our visitors, as do other stakeholders. So, actually, I feel that has been a success from my perspective. Of course, we'd love to open. We'd all enjoy to open our properties. It was very sad, on day one. We tried to see whether we could keep them open longer; we couldn't. But we will do it slowly, and we'll get there. I feel that it's been a very well-handled situation.
I think one of the things that should be stressed is that it's really important for the public in Wales that there's a degree of consistency across our different national organisations and our heritage and museums and libraries, really, so far as we can, so that people know what to expect. I think that Pedr and others have mentioned, really, the work that we've been doing in partnership with Cadw, the National Trust and others to try to ensure that consistency is there.
I would also stress that the health of our own staff is critically important in this, and we've worked very closely with them and our trade unions to try to ensure that the way we are approaching the reopening is one that the staff will be comfortable with and can have trust in, as well.
So we will, actually, in just over a week's time, start bringing staff back in to train them in how to operate under these new circumstances. In about two weeks' time, we're going to be introducing opportunities for community organisations, partner charities, local communities to come in on a controlled basis to test out the systems. This is for St Fagans, I should say. On the week of—at the beginning of August, we will then have our first public visits arranged, and we're doing it by asking people to either book online or book by telephone. We've got two different systems there, as well. We'll monitor it as we go.
We're going to open the historic environment part of St Fagans first, but our aim is, by the end of August, to have all of our museums reopened in a controlled way, not necessarily every element. I think it's probably going to be a long time before we're taking people down into Big Pit, into the underground tour, for obvious reasons. And it's worth mentioning, as well, that every single museum is different and has its own conditions. Pedr mentioned the constrained spaces, and we have to look at each area we're opening for the public with this in mind.
I personally think that the collaboration there's been between the Welsh Government and the historic bodies has been very, very close and very, very trusting on both sides, really, and collaborative, and I think it's the right thing to do. I would just say that my own personal experience is that England has always got the capacity to surprise us with its decisions on occasion.
I would just add to what's been said—that the issues we're hearing from our stakeholders go beyond the variations of regulations. And they include, as Justin, David and Pedr have already mentioned, the availability of staff in the first place—it's great news that the schools are going to be reopening in September, I say as a parent with a child playing Fortnite loudly in the background—the volunteer base, particularly where sites are reliant on older volunteers, for instance, or a cohort that may be shielding, and just the sheer economic viability of reopening for many projects while social distancing is required. And on top of all that, then, we're all coming out psychologically of lockdown, and visitor confidence—the figures there being low, and needs to be catered for.
Thank you. I'll turn to John Griffiths now—I think some questions about workforce and staff, which you've already touched on, but we'd like to know more. John.
Yes, diolch yn fawr. Some questions about your workforces, really, and how appropriate and adequate Government support has been. First, perhaps, we could start with the furlough scheme, which obviously is very significant indeed, and if you could tell us what proportion of your staff have been furloughed, that would be a good starting point. Justin, did you say 80 per cent in your organisation?
It should be off now. I don't know why I'm muting myself. Yes, at our peak, we were 81, 82 per cent. We're not there now, but that was at our peak, when we had all our properties closed and we were just on the bare essential staff.
Significantly lower. I think we're probably in the mid-60s. I'm not quite sure, but I can get an answer back to you. We have only started opening our outdoor—a couple of properties on Monday. So as we open more properties, we will bring more people back onto staff and onto teams, and as more of our projects start up, we will bring more people back onto those.
I see. Could you tell us who met the costs of the staff that were furloughed?
We topped up to 100 per cent.
You topped up to 100 per cent. Okay. And are you confident, Justin, that all the staff will return before the end of the furlough scheme at the end of October?
I don't know. We're in the middle right now of—. The whole trust lost a significant—well, over £200 million, which is a dent. If you think of the size of Wales as being one of the major devolved parliaments, you get an idea of how much money we've lost. We are in the middle of a substantial reset programme right now to look and see what the future looks like, and I can't judge what that will be.
Okay. Could I have answers to those same questions from all of you, please? Perhaps David would go next.
I think it's worth saying that approximately 100 of our staff have not been in work because they themselves have got underlying health conditions, or they are shielding family members or close friends as well. So, that has been a factor in our thinking, really, about this. We have furloughed about nearly 40 per cent of our staff, and one of the major purposes of course for this is that, so far as we can, we want to try and protect jobs into the future, and we want to try and protect the organisation as well. So, I do want to pay tribute to the staff who are being furloughed, because they're making a huge contribution by doing what they're doing to the organisation as a whole. I do think that it's important to mention also that we have our paid staff, but we also have about 1,300 volunteers who work for us each year, and many of those are people who are working with us through our partnerships with the charities that I mentioned before—Llamau, the Wallich, Drug Aid Wales and others like that. It's been extremely hard for them to have been deprived of the opportunity of working with the museum at different sites, and we have tried to keep in touch with them through the partner organisations because, obviously, one of the other consequences of the present situation is the mental health challenges it can bring. We're very mindful of the potential impact on really, really valued volunteers through all this as well. So, it is actually quite complicated and it goes beyond the paid staff for us.
Absolutely, yes. We're well aware that some of the London national museums attempted to avoid topping up and, in the end, were required to do so. But no, we've always been completely clear about the principle of this, and we have a collective agreement with our trade unions that we both put together to protect the interests of staff, as well as the organisation.
And would you able to say what the position is likely to be at the end of October in terms of all furloughed staff returning to work?
It's very hard to say, really, because, of course, one of our objectives in this is to sustain the finances of the organisation as well. I think that we know that we won't be able to fully reopen our sites, probably even into the autumn as well. We're getting started on the process. So, I think there is a question of how many staff should be on site, how safe it will be for their health for them to be on site, and I think that's another factor that we'll bear in mind. But if there's been some miracle drug by then, it may change.
Mae yna 25 y cant o'n staff ni ar ffyrlo ar hyn o bryd, ac eto, fel y sefydliadau eraill, rydym ni yn topio'u cyflogau nhw i fyny fel eu bod nhw yn derbyn 100 y cant o'u cyflogau. Ac, yn sicr, mi fydd yna swyddi iddyn nhw pan fyddan nhw yn medru dychwelyd i'r gwaith, pan fydd hynny yn digwydd. Mi rydym ni hefyd, fel David a'r amgueddfa, yn dibynnu llawer ar ein gwirfoddolwyr; mae gennym ni ryw 70 o bobl ar ein llyfrau ni ar hyn o bryd. Mae'n gwirfoddolwyr ni yn cyfoethogi cymdeithas y llyfrgell, ac yn rhoi gwerth i'r hyn mae'n staff ni yn ei gyflawni.
Mi rydym ni wedi bod yn cadw cysylltiad â phawb yn ystod y cyfnod yma. Dwi wedi bod yn ceisio anfon neges bob bythefnos at ein staff ni yn ystod y cyfnod anodd. Mi rydym ni hefyd wedi bod yn darparu gwasanaeth cwnsela annibynnol i'n staff ni, oherwydd rydym ni, fel chithau, yn ymwybodol iawn, iawn gymaint o stres, gymaint o boen personol a meddyliol mae'r cyfnod yma wedi ei olygu, ac wedi effeithio ar ein staff ni. Felly, mae'n dda gen i ddweud bod y gwasanaeth hwnnw, er yn annibynnol, yn cael ei ddefnyddio hefyd, a bod ein staff ni yn credu ei fod o'n fuddiol iawn, iawn.
Twenty-five per cent of our staff are furloughed at the moment, and like the other institutions, we are topping up their salaries so that they are in receipt of 100 per cent of those salaries. And certainly, there will be jobs for them they're able to return to work, when that's possible. Like David and the museum, we too are very reliant on our volunteers; we have some 70 on our books at the moment. Our volunteers enhance the community of the library, and provide value to what our staff deliver.
We have been keeping in touch with everyone during this period. I have been trying to send messages to the staff every fortnight during this troubled time, and we have also been providing an independent counselling service for our staff, because we, like you, are highly aware how much stress and anguish this period has brought about for our staff. I'm pleased to say that that service, although it is independent, is also being used by our staff, and that the staff believe that it's very beneficial to them.
Diolch yn fawr. Andrew, do you want to add anything to that from the point of view of the wider sector?
We've not furloughed any staff; we have, as an organisation, brought in some flexible working practices to accommodate particularly parents or people who are shielding. What we have seen from a review of the applications is that just over half of our applicants—53 per cent—are using the job retention scheme. We also see there's a potential for redundancies within the heritage sector, given the barriers to full reopening and income generation, perhaps, in the medium-term future.
A final question from me on freelancers. Could you tell us what proportion of your staff in your sectors are freelancers, and whether the support that's available for them in employment terms is sufficient? Who would like to start?
If we perhaps start with Andrew, because you might have a perspective from some of the other projects that you fund as well.
I could get you an analysis, percentage-wise, but we do definitely receive applications and continue to support our grantees to pay staff, including many freelancers.
Thank you. Justin, are any of the National Trust—? Or are all of yours direct employees?
Most of ours are direct employees. What I can do is I can find out the exact answer for you and I will give a written answer back. I don't know the answer to that.
Yn hollol. Dydy o ddim yn issue i ninnau chwaith.
Exactly, yes. It's not an issue for us either.
I would say probably something very similar, really. We do have a number of staff who are retired—mine are guides, for example, who come back and do shifts for us—and those core staff we have continued so far to furlough and to pay their wages, pay the top-up.
Diolch yn fawr. And just to inform—John Griffiths will need to leave the meeting, I think, at 2.30 p.m., but will rejoin us at 3.00 p.m. Carwyn Jones.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Afternoon, everybody. Thank you for your contributions so far. I was going to ask you about support for the sector, if I may. First of all, we know that there are three funds that have been put in place—first of all the Welsh Government's £1 million culture and resilience fund. If I can ask you all, first of all, about that fund: first of all, how useful has it been, and, secondly, of course, what difference has that fund made at a practical level?
Who'd like to start with that? Justin, do you want to make a start with that?
I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that. We may not have used it, but I will find out exactly how we've used it and if we've used it.
Dwi ddim yn credu ein bod ni wedi'i ddefnyddio fo o gwbl, Cadeirydd.
I don't believe that we've made any use of it at all, Chair.
We haven't made use of that either. I'm not sure we're eligible, actually, to do so.
Thank you. Andrew, any of your—? No. You don't even need the microphone for that. Carwyn.
Wel, atebion eithaf byr ond eithaf clir fannna wrth y tystion. Gaf i droi at yr ail gronfa roedden ni'n moyn siarad amdano, sef y gronfa sydd wedi caei ei sefydlu gan y ffederasiwn amgueddfeydd Cymreig, sef, rwy'n credu, £325,000 o grant ynglŷn ag ystwythder, sef y gair yn Gymraeg—resilience—i amgueddfeydd a hefyd i sefydliadau etifeddiaeth? Ym mha ffordd mae honno wedi bod yn ymarferol i chi?
Well, those were brief answers but all very clear. If I could turn to the second fund that I wanted to discuss, which was created by the Welsh museums federation, which is £325,000 in terms of a resilience grant for museums and heritage attractions. How has that been useful to you?
I refer to my initial answer, no, but—[Inaudible.].
Of course. Carwyn. You're getting through this section really fast. [Laughter.]
It's the rapier-like cross-examination, Chair. The third fund I wanted to look at is the National Lottery heritage emergency fund. That's £50 million. Do we know—perhaps Andrew can tell us—how much that money's been distributed in Wales?
We do. I'm just going to refer to my notes so I can share it with you. The fund closes on 31 July, it opened on 15 April. In Wales, to date, we've had 40 applications, with a total ask of £1.5 million—just shy of £1.5 million; just five applications out of the total were ineligible. Almost a quarter of the applications that we received have been received since 29 June. We have something like £900,000 worth of projects that we expect to be discussing and assessing within the next two to four weeks, and that's what we know and what's already in right now. We are expecting there to be more. I sit on the emergency fund panel every Monday morning with my colleagues across the UK and this coming Monday is a bumper week.
David, I think—. Did I see you indicating to come in on that, David Anderson?
You did, yes. Thank you. I should have perhaps responded to Carwyn slightly more than just give a nod, really, which is to say that my understanding of the £300,000 fund for local museums is particularly targeted to the independent museum sector, and I think it's worth while remembering that local museums are very different kinds of beasts and different institutions. I think if one looks at the local authority museums, the period of greatest risk may yet be before us; in other words, it may be in the future rather than absolutely imminently now. And I think that one of the challenges, really, for Wales is to take that one-year, two-year horizon for sustainability as well as the most immediate, 'Are they going to close now, or are they not?'
And just really to echo what I said before: the local museums are an essential part of the museum ecosystem in Wales, and we as a national museum and the local museums work closely together. I think in the future, we will be working much more closely together still, and we're very often the place where people first learn to love culture. Before they even come to St Fagans or National Museum Cardiff, or Llanberis, or Drefach, their very local museum is their first inspiration, and I think we really would be impoverished if those resources are lost even further.
Can you hear me? I've not muted myself again, good. It's a really good question. With my National Trust hat on, I don't know the answer. I think we have heritage lottery in the wider picture, but the trust also works with a lot of other local trusts around the area, and I'm actually a trustee of a couple of them, and this fund has been a psychological lifeline, as well as a potential financial lifeline for so many. The panic—I think 'brutal panic' is two words I would use around a lot of the smaller heritage trusts who are put together by individuals who have been saving for years, and getting local communities to put money in, and they suddenly saw all their hard work for a community potentially going away, and this fund has been, and will be, I think, a godsend. So, obviously, we'll look to see how it's going to be developed; I'm very glad people are applying for it. So, with my non-National Trust hat on, but somebody who believes in local, like David does—local heritage has been essential to Wales and how we look after our towns. I see it as hugely beneficial.
Thank you. Just to come back and what Andrew said there: obviously, I don't expect Andrew to tell me who's been successful, who's bid under the emergency fund, but can you give us an example of the kind of—[Inaudible.]—gap that's being plugged by the heritage emergency fund?
Absolutely. And I should also note that the fund itself, the emergency fund, has evolved over the past 12, 14 weeks to greater amounts, plus now we're looking much more towards reopening costs, and after 31 July we will undoubtedly have something—if it's HEF 2, or whatever—that will meet the growing and evolving needs. Examples of projects, for instance, would be—and they are varied; it's a pleasure to see the variety of applications that come in—Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, for instance, had a small grant to support employment costs for a member of staff; Llantrisant Guildhall has received money just recently; North Wales Wildlife Trust also received a substantial grant to support staff costs to keep them going during the emergency period.
Thanks for that. Just two more issues I wanted to explore: where are the gaps and how might they be—if there are gaps, how might they be addressed?
I think the gap's probably around the differences between the sectors—certainly for the museum sector, anyway, and I think that means timescales, as I was saying.
[Inaudible.]—£59 million question, really. It's really important we don't simply rewind to where we were in March 2020. There is a chance to invest differently and to invest more strategically, perhaps. And I know a number of organisations would like to think that yes, we need the money, and the money that's there is really, really important, but we'd like also to have the flexibility to think about investing for the longer term. I'm thinking, for example, that an organisation like ours badly, badly needs to invest in our digital systems and infrastructure, and this is very, very expensive and it shows relatively little in six months or a year, but in five years or 10 years, it's the basis for the learning systems, the community engagement work in every community in Wales. In other words it's long term, and I think we really must look long term on our funding.
I would say this as well: I think it's important that funders look at which organisations are really committed to social inclusion, to social justice, to making sure that the money is actually going to making a change in communities and so supporting our communities. I think in Wales this is something we don't need to be afraid of because we do an awful lot of it already. If I look across the border, I can see institutions who are, bluntly, going to get a lot of money, I think, but don't actually have those commitments. So, purpose, purpose, purpose for me, really, is the essence of all this, and the willingness to do things differently and then to invest differently in the process of it. This has to be the point of change.
Thank you. I can see a lot of support for that. Justin, and then I'll bring in Pedr.
Two points—it's a really good question. I would echo, really strongly echo David's point that we will never go back to February 2020, and anyone who is looking at financing or looking at themselves going back to that position is fooling themselves and will probably be wasting money. I see the gap—one of the gaps is that we need to reward those organisations that work together, and I think we still have that Welsh problem sometimes, as we are a wonderful nation but we're still smaller than Birmingham, and we shouldn't be working disparately. And the rewarding organisations that work collaboratively, that share functions, share back offers, share so we don't spend money—that the money goes to where it needs to on the front line, the cutting edge, to the coal face. I think that's really the gap I see on those two points.
O ran y gap, Cadeirydd, ddaru imi ddweud ar gychwyn fod y llyfrgell genedlaethol yn wynebu argyfwng ariannol rŵan, a dŷn ni yn gobeithio medru trafod y mater yma efo'r Llywodraeth yn fuan. Ond dwi'n credu ein bod ni gyd angen sylweddoli, dwi'n credu, fod ein sefydliadau diwylliannol ni yn medru cyfrannu yn helaeth i flaenoriaethau a strategaethau'r Llywodraeth sydd y tu allan i ddiwylliant. Pe byddai cyllid ar gael, dwi'n siŵr i ni ac i'r amgueddfa hefyd, mi fyddai'n cyfraniad ni yn medru bod yn llawer iawn, iawn mwy i economi Cymru, i addysg Cymru, ac, ie, hyd yn oed i iechyd Cymru. Rydyn ni, yn ystod y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf yma, wedi bod yn gweithio ar gynllun rhagorol i ddarparu gwaith ar sail ein casgliadau i bobl sydd yn gorfod byw efo Alzheimer's, er enghraifft, y bobl sydd yn gweithio efo nhw, ac mae hwnna, ynddo'i hun, oherwydd ei fod wedi bod mor llwyddiannus, yn wirioneddol ddangos faint o gyfraniad y byddai ein sefydliadau diwylliannol ni yn medru ei wneud i'r sectorau sydd y tu allan i'r sector diwylliant. Liciwn i pe byddai Llywodraeth Cymru yn sylweddoli, yn cydnabod hynny, ac yn buddsoddi yn ein sefydliadau diwylliannol ni, ac yn ein galluogi ni i weld ein heffaith ni yn llawer iawn mwy pellgyrhaeddol nag ydy o ar hyn o bryd.
In terms of the gap, Chair, I said at the outset that the national library is facing a financial crisis, and we are hoping to discuss this issue with Government soon. But I do think we all need to realise that our cultural institutions can contribute a great deal to the Government's priorities and strategies outwith culture. Now, if funding were available, I'm sure for us and the museum, our contribution could be so much greater to the Welsh economy, to Welsh education, and, yes, even to Welsh health. We, over the past two years, have been working on an excellent programme to provide work based on our collections for those who have to live with Alzheimer's and those supporting them, and that, in and of itself, because it has been so successful, does truly demonstrate how much of a contribution our cultural institutions could make in sectors that are totally outwith the cultural sector. I would like the Welsh Government to recognise that and to invest in our cultural institutions, thereby enabling us to have a far more far-reaching impact than we currently have at the moment.
David, I think you wanted to come back in, and then Andrew, if Andrew has anything to add. David Anderson. David.
Yes. I'd really like to echo that; I think it's a fundamental point and it goes back to what I was suggesting earlier on, that I think one of the transformations needed is that we're recognised as being a support for the welfare state in Wales, and that this is not a marginal part of that work, that culture is actually about health, it is about learning, it's about addressing poverty, and the Fusion programme is already running—could be expanded much more.
It's about international work as well too, of course, and like Pedr, we've been working in the health sector for some time now. During this COVID crisis, we've been working with Hywel Dda University Health Board, and we've been moving works—taking works of art in reproduction into the field hospitals and other locations; working with the healthcare workers themselves to choose the works that they want from our collections to be seen there. They're all carefully laminated, and they're wiped clean at very, very regular intervals. But they're there as images that are chosen because they relate to the locality of the hospital and the patients who come in can see some connectivity with the world outside through that too.
So much of culture is about feeling, about heart and about connection, and about identity. Through the educational work, through the health work and through the relationship with communities, we can strengthen that work that we do and not regard ourselves as being citadels in cities in Wales, but actually part of, and existing in, communities. It's a big task, but nevertheless it's one I think we've really got to take on now.
Yes, in terms of the gaps, we're currently conducting a review of the fund right across the UK, which I'm leading on—on the inclusivity piece. We've identified that those gaps are the community voices, perhaps—the smaller projects. What we're trying to do, as David said, culture is about connection, it's about heart and it's about identity. Recent events have given us all a wake-up call and prompted us all to act differently, to learn to be better allies and advocates for change. For me—for us—the real gaps are in those community-led projects, many of them being smaller projects.
That sounds really interesting. I'm sure the committee would be very interested in the outcome of that review. I think that will tell us a lot. We're going to come on in a moment to some questions about the future, and that work will be very helpful to inform us there. Justin, I think you wanted to come back in on that.
There's one gap that hasn't been filled, I guess, and that's the enormous success of the Hay Festival this year, which is a cultural and heritage asset, supported by the Welsh Government, and delivered four or five times the number of people from around the world, looking and partaking of being part of Wales. That's a gap we didn't know existed. So, there are some things where there were gaps that we've been able to close during it, so that's a very positive one.
Yes, apologies for the appearance of the dog in the background. I think he can open doors, and I think you're now hearing the water pump that sits in the cupboard behind me, but there we are—professional studio. One final question from me, and it is for Justin: Justin, I know that the trust has called for a platform to leverage funding schemes. Can you just expand a little bit on what that proposal means?
Sorry, could you repeat the question?
Yes, it's the noise in the background. As I understand it, the trusts have created, or called on the Government, rather, to create a platform to leverage funding schemes. Is that right? I'm just wondering what that means.
Yes. I don't know it in great detail, and that's for the UK Government—
—around the green economy, and the ask for money around the green economy. We are echoing that in Wales through, actually, David Henshaw's working group, around how we can do that. But, I will find more information and detailed information and I'll get that in writing to you.
That would be really helpful, thank you. Anything further from you, Carwyn?
If I can turn to Mick now, we've already begun to talk a bit about the future, and that's where Mick's questions are going to focus. Mick.
Yes, thank you very much. You have touched on some of the areas around the future, and, of course, the future is incredibly unpredictable at the moment. I'm going to just focus on a few themes that have come through that relate to the future. I was very pleased that you mentioned, for example, Llantrisant Guildhall, because I know how important the support has been there. I look around, also, at the comments that have been made about the smaller museums. If you look around Nantgarw, that's a fantastic museum on the pottery there that has actually really been quite innovative of late in terms of the way it has been using social media to promote the whole concept of the work on which it's based, and, again, there's the Rhondda Heritage Park and so on.
So, all of those are fundamentally important, but they also seem to be fundamentally important now to the new curriculum—the education side. I'm glad that that was mentioned. I wonder, in terms of going forward, how you see the link between education and all of the cultural activities and heritage activities that are taking place. Because if Welsh history is now to be at the core of that, we also risk the danger of Welsh history being the global Welsh history, as opposed to the very localised community history as well. How do you see that as being potentially something that will develop in the future, bearing in mind all the skills that we've now learnt of different ways of operating?
Yes, I will. It is now several decades since I was last a history teacher in the classroom, so I won't feel as though I really speak with very, very close engagement with the teaching in the classroom at the moment. I do think that there is a very serious point about that Welsh history being really deeply embedded in the curriculum in Wales. I think that there's a really key role for ourselves, the library and other institutions to really work hard to make sure that those resources are being developed, and we have had conversations with the Books Council of Wales, for example, about being able to use our resources to develop curriculum materials that they can provide.
I also think that it's really critically important that, while taking the point about global history, actually, global history has been here in Wales for centuries in one form or another, and the Black Lives Matter campaign and protests remind us that the black community in Wales is not something that's happened since Windrush. These are communities that have been here for many, many decades, even a century or two before then. We know there are lots of histories that have not really been brought forward into the light, and if we're to be a global nation, which I dearly hope that Wales will more and more become, it's essential that we understand ourselves better and our connection with the past.
So, I think we've got a huge task over the next 10 years of mining our own collections, reinterpreting our own collections, enabling everybody who's in schools in Wales to see their own identity in those collections as well—and at the moment, it's not sufficiently the case.
Thank you. Would anyone like to add to that? Pedr, and then Justin.
Pedr, mae eisiau troi'r meic ymlaen.
Pedr, you will need to unmute.
'Unmute-io', reit. Diolch i Mick am ei gwestiwn. Yr hyn rydyn ni wedi'i ddysgu yn bennaf dwi'n credu yn ystod yr wythnosau diwethaf yma ydy ein bod ni'n awyddus iawn, iawn i wybod gan athrawon a darlithwyr pa wasanaethau y maen nhw eisiau gan y llyfrgell genedlaethol. Mae angen i ni adnabod eu hanghenion nhw. Ac yn yr ystyr yna, rydyn ni wedi cael un gweithdy wythnos diwethaf gydag addysgwyr Cymru ble ddaru ni roi'r cyfle iddyn nhw ddweud wrthym ni beth oedden nhw eisiau gennym ni. Nid ein bod ni ddim yn gwybod beth rydyn ni'n bwriadu ei ddarparu o gwbl, felly, ond oherwydd cyfyngiadau adnoddau, mae angen i ni ddarparu'n benodol er mwyn diwallu anghenion penodol.
Yn sicr, mae cynyddu cynnwys digidol ar-lein yn gwbl, gwbl hanfodol. Mae angen i'n casgliadau ni fod ar gael yn y cymunedau. Mae angen i ni ddweud, 'Does dim rhaid i chi deithio i'r llyfrgell genedlaethol i fod yn y llyfrgell genedlaethol; mae modd bod yn y llyfrgell genedlaethol ym Mhontypridd, yn y Rhondda, yn Wrecsam ac Ynys Môn.' Felly, dwi'n gwybod mai uchelgais y llyfrgell ydy bod y profiad ar-lein bron cystal â'r profiad o ddod yma i'r llyfrgell genedlaethol. Dyna'n nod ni. Dyna ddylem ni gyd anelu ato fo, dwi'n credu.
Ond, dwi am sôn am un prosiect yn arbennig, prosiect dwi'n siŵr eich bod chi i gyd yn ymwybodol ohono fo, sef y prosiect o sefydlu archif ddarlledu genedlaethol i Gymru. Rŵan, yng nghyd-destun COVID-19, dwi wedi bod yn ailfeddwl am agweddau o'r prosiect yna, yn yr ystyr fy mod i yn fwy awyddus nag erioed i fynd â'r casgliadau yma i bob cymuned yng Nghymru. Ac os caf i gydsyniad Andrew White yn fan hyn, yn ystod yr wythnosau nesaf yma, mi fyddwn ni yn gweld llawer iawn, iawn, iawn mwy o weithgareddau cymunedol—mewn ysgolion, mewn archifdai, mewn llyfrgelloedd—yn digwydd ble rydyn ni'n mynd ag archif ddarlledu cyfoethog y llyfrgell i'r cymunedau. Oherwydd dwi'n gweld mai dyma un o'r arfau pwysicaf sydd gennym ni i gynorthwyo unigolion a chymunedau i geisio dod dros COVID-19. Ein bwriad ni ydy darparu terfynellau mynediad i'n casgliadau ni yn lleol ar draws Cymru. Felly, oes, mae gan y llyfrgell gyfraniad enfawr i'w wneud i addysg ac i addysgu, a rydyn ni'n awyddus iawn i wrando ar y byd addysg i ddweud wrthym ni beth maen nhw am i ni ei ddarparu iddyn nhw.
Unmute, okay. I thank Mick for the question. What we've learnt mainly over the past few weeks and months, I think, is that we are very eager to hear from teachers and lecturers what services they want from the national library. We need to identify their needs. And to that end, we did have a workshop last week with educational professionals in Wales where we gave them an opportunity to tell us what they wanted from us. Not that we are unaware of what we intend to provide, of course, but because of a shortage of resources, we do have to be very specific in terms of meeting particular demands.
Certainly, enhancing online digital content is entirely crucial. Our collections must be available within communities. We have to say, 'You don't have to travel to the national library to be in the national library; it's possible to access the national library in Pontypridd, the Rhondda, Wrexham and Anglesey.' Therefore, I know that the ambition of the library is that the online experience should be almost as good as the experience for visitors to the national library. That is our aim. That should be what we all aim for, I believe.
But, I do want to discuss one particular project, a project that I'm sure you're all aware of, namely the project to establish a national broadcast archive for Wales. Now, in the context of COVID-19, I have been rethinking aspects of this project, in the sense that I am more eager than ever to take these collections to every community in Wales. And with the consent of Andrew White, over the next few weeks, we will be seeing far more community activities—in schools, archives and libraries—happening, where we will take the rich broadcast archive of the library into communities. Because I see this as being one of the most important tools that we have to assist individuals and communities in trying to overcome COVID-19. Our intention is to provide access terminals to our collections at a local level across Wales. So, yes, the library has a huge contribution to make in the field of education, and we're very eager to listen to educators so that they can tell us what they want us to provide for them.
Diolch. Gan fod Pedr wedi cyfeirio'n uniongyrchol at Andrew, gwnaf i dynnu Andrew i mewn, wrth sylweddoli wrth gwrs dŷn ni ddim yn gallu gwneud ceisiadau am bres na disgwyl atebion gan y funders yn ystod cyfarfod pwyllgor, er y byddem ni'n dwlu gwneud, wrth gwrs. Andrew. [Chwerthin.]
Thank you. As Pedr referred directly to Andrew, I will bring Andrew in, whilst realising of course that we can't make applications for funding or expect answers from the funders during a committee meeting, although we would love to do that, of course. Andrew. [Laughter.]
Gan fy mod i'n dal ar gyfnod prawf mewn swydd newydd, byddaf i ddim yn asesu cais yn fyw mewn pwyllgor. [Chwerthin.]
Buaswn i jest yn ychwanegu at yr hyn yr oedd Pedr yn ei ddweud, mae'n rhaid i'r casgliadau yma a'n diwylliant a'n treftadaeth ni fod ar gael i gymunedau. Buaswn i jest yn ategu at hwnna bod yn rhaid iddynt fod yn berthnasol i bawb; mae'n rhaid iddynt fod yn perthyn i bawb ac mae'n rhaid cynnwys pawb. Mae'n treftadaeth ni'n perthyn i bawb ac mae'n bwysig i ni sicrhau bod pawb yn perthyn i'r dreftadaeth yna.
Wrth wneud bach o'r gwaith yma dros yr wythnosau diwethaf, dwi wedi bod yn siarad â phobl ledled Prydain, un ohonyn nhw'n ddyn du ac yn dweud, 'Wel, os dwi'n mynd â fy nhair merch i'r amgueddfa neu'r oriel gelf leol', er bod y person yma'n gweithio yn y sector celfyddydau, dŷn nhw ddim yn gweld nhw eu hunain yn y casgliadau. So, buaswn i jest yn dweud, o ran yr addysg a'r perthnasedd i'n diwylliant a'n treftadaeth, dyna'r pwynt y buaswn i'n ei wneud.
Well, as I'm still on probation in a new post, I won't assess an application live in a committee meeting. [Laughter.]
I would just like to add to Pedr's comments that these collections and our culture and heritage have to be available to our communities. I would like to add to that that they also have to be relevant to everyone; they have to belong to everyone and everyone has to be included. Because our heritage belongs to everyone and it is important that we do ensure that everyone takes ownership of that heritage.
In doing some work here over the past few weeks, I've been speaking to people across Britain, one of them was a black man who told me, 'If I take my three daughters to a local museum or gallery', although this individual works in the arts sector, they don't see themselves reflected in those collections. So, I would say, in terms of education and the relevance of our culture and heritage, that's the point I would like to make.
Yes. I think I mentioned that most education happens outside. But, of course, looking after some of the great treasure houses of Wales—we've been calling them 'treasure houses' when, actually, the stories behind these houses are extraordinarily challenging. We're now in the tenth year of working around Penrhyn, which is one of the most challenging histories we have anywhere in Wales, with not just the longest strike in European in history, but also the legacy of slavery from Jamaica and the family that built that home.
We could do two things. We could try and erase that and try and sanitise it so that it doesn't offend people, but right across our properties, we try and say, 'We need to tell these stories about the bad, so that people learn and learn from them.' There is still that idea that you can have an amazing experience in a very beautiful place, looking at works of art, and that's one level of experience, but we have to be very, very forthright in telling the stories of where the money came from and where the families came from. We had the same issue with Powis castle and many of our houses. So, that's our educational guide: it's not telling people things, it's allowing people to learn from the experience and learn from being in these places.
Forgive me for one second, I use the example of some of the great museums in America where they aim their experience depending on age, and you can have different experiences. If you go to Penrhyn, we very proudly had, for the first time, the Bethesda choir singing last year and the year beforehand, and to me that's one of the biggest successes we've had: to bring a community back into a place that was really, I would say, damned for a long time.
Yes. Listen, thank you for that. There is, I think, a clear direction there in terms of what might be a priority in terms of investment in taking a whole new way in which our historic institutions, cultural organisations and so on, engage in the future in a more integrated way with many other aspects, and education in particular. What do you think are the aspects of your work at the moment that are most at risk of being lost as a result of the economic and financial crisis that we have?
Who'd like to start on that? We need to know the downsides so that we can be advocating.
Pedr, rydych chi wedi siarad yn barod ynglŷn â'r her ariannol sydd yn wynebu'r llyfrgell.
Pedr, you've already mentioned the financial challenge facing the library.
Mae'r her ariannol ar hyn o bryd yn sylweddol iawn, i ddweud y gwir. Mi rydym ni rŵan yn edrych ar fod yn rhywbeth fel £1.2 miliwn yn brin yn ein refeniw erbyn diwedd y flwyddyn yma. Dŷn ni’n ceisio cael trafodaeth gyda Llywodraeth Cymru ar hyn o bryd, ond dŷn ni yn rhagweld os na fydd y trafodaethau yna yn llwyddiannus y gallem ni fod yn gweld gostyngiad sylweddol iawn yn ein gweithlu o’r flwyddyn newydd ymlaen. Rŵan te, dychmygwch chi, mae gennym ni weithlu o—. Os caf i ddweud i ddechrau, yn sydyn iawn, Cadeirydd, o ran ein cyllid ni, yn 2006-07, mi oedd ein cyllid ni yn £10.3 miliwn. Eleni, mae o’n £9.7 miliwn. Felly, 14 o flynyddoedd yn ôl, mi oedd o’n £10.3 miliwn; eleni mae o’n £9.7 miliwn. Rŵan te, dychmygwch effaith ar y sefydliad hwn pe byddem ni yn gorfod diswyddo 10 y cant o’n staff. Dwi ddim yn dweud bod hynny yn mynd i ddigwydd, oherwydd dŷn ni ddim wedi cael ymateb gan Lywodraeth Cymru eto, ond mi fyddai goblygiadau hynny yn bellgyrhaeddol ar draws y sefydliad i gyd. Dwi’n gobeithio ddaw hi ddim i hynny.
Mae’n dda gen i ddweud bod yr adolygiad teilwredig sydd wedi’i baratoi yn diweddar—dwi ddim yn siŵr os ydych chi wedi ei dderbyn o fel pwyllgor—yn dweud nad yw'r sefyllfa bresennol yn gynaliadwy a bod angen i Lywodraeth Cymru fynd i’r afael â chyllido’r llyfrgell yn ddigonol fel mater o frys. Dŷn ni’n gwerthfawrogi’r ffaith bod yr adroddiad sydd wedi cael ei gomisiynu gan Lywodraeth Cymru yn cadarnhau ein gofidiau ni, ond y gwir amdani ydy—ac mi geith David Anderson siarad ar ran ei hun—bod ein sefydliadau diwylliannol ni yn gwegian.
The current financial challenge is very significant indeed. We are now looking at being something in the region of £1.2 million in deficit in terms of revenue by the end of this year. We are seeking to have discussions with the Welsh Government at the moment, but we do anticipate that unless those discussions and negotiations are successful, then we could see a very significant reduction in our workforce from the new year on. Now, if you can imagine that we have a workforce—. And if I may say very briefly, Chair, in terms of our funding, in 2006-07, our funding was £10.3 million. Now, this year, it is £9.7 million. So, 14 years ago, it was £10.3 million, and this year it's £9.7 million. Now, imagine the impact on this institution if we were to have to lose 10 per cent of our staff. I'm not saying that that's going to happen, because we haven't received a response from Welsh Government as of yet. But the implications of that would be far reaching across the whole organisation, and I very much hope it doesn't come to that.
I am pleased to say that the tailored review that has been prepared recently—and I'm not sure if you've received that as a committee as of yet—does state that the current situation is unsustainable and that the Welsh Government needs to get to grips with the funding of the library adequately as a matter of urgency. We appreciate the fact that the report, commissioned by the Welsh Government, does confirm our concerns, but the truth is that—and David Anderson can speak for himself—our cultural institutions are creaking.
Diolch, Pedr. Dwi ddim yn gwybod os dŷn ni wedi derbyn copi o'r adroddiad rŷch chi wedi cyfeirio ato fe, ond, os ydy fe yn y maes cyhoeddus, os ydy e'n briodol, byddwn ni'n gwerthfawrogi pe medrech chi ei rannu fe gyda ni—os ydy e yn y maes cyhoeddus.
Thank you, Pedr. I don't know if we have received a copy of the report that you mentioned, but if it is in the public sphere, we would appreciate if you could share it with us—if it has been made public, of course.
David or Justin, do you want to come in on what the potential threats to your—? David, and then I'll bring Justin in.
I think some of the issues that Pedr has outlined are exactly the same for us. The real value of our grant in aid has dropped, I think, by somewhere near 30 per cent in the last decade or so. We've done everything we can to generate commercial income to compensate for that, but we've just discussed, an hour or so ago, what's happened to our commercial income. So, we're a bit of a squeeze on that one.
Two things, really: I think the first one is sustaining the core—you know, the institutions—and I would say this for the local museums, again, as well as the national museum. I think that one of the consequences of the ways in which funding has been squeezed is that the infrastructure, in all sorts of ways, has decayed, physically decayed, and the investment simply hasn't been there in growth and change, for example, in digital infrastructure too. It's very easy to compare across the border, really, and it's worth remembering that the national museums in London get, very often, 50 per cent of their funding from private sources, not grant in aid, so they have a great advantage in this way. But, nevertheless, we haven't had the opportunity to reinvest that we really needed to have in the last decade. And I think that we are world leaders in engagement in culture, in cultural democracy, cultural rights, and it's something that's, in a sense, embedded in Wales, really. We could really capitalise on that in the ways in which we work if we had better infrastructure to work from.
My vision for 10 years' time will be that we will be present in every one of the 900 communities in Wales digitally, but also, in some ways, physically; that every school child will have had the chance to experience museums—not just our museum, but museums—many times during the 12 or whatever years that they're in school; that the most challenged communities are the ones who we're working most closely with, not the ones who are least represented in our audiences; and that the black communities can say that they can see themselves there in every museum, they can come into a museum and see representation of their culture there.
I think that we should really be setting ourselves some very, very big challenges as a sector, because, compared with spending on many other areas of public service, it's not big—it really is not big—but the impacts are huge. And as I've said before, we're actually an economic giver to Wales; we're not an economic drainer. It's worth investing economically, even before all these other social, educational, health and poverty challenges are being addressed, which we really are doing and should do much, much more. So, I think we've got to make this leap, we've got to make this commitment, and we need the investment from Government, which is not huge, to enable us to do so. And it has to be local as well as national.
Yes, and we're obviously in a different situation. What I would say in terms of the risks for us—we parked, if you like, or paused 27 projects in Wales in a pipeline that we'd been trying to diversify and successfully been diversifying. Those projects, as a result of the emergency fund, have been parked. That's around £1.7 million of projects withdrawn. That's a risk for us—that those projects might never come back. Some of them might have been, due to the nature of the projects, adversely affected, or their community has been adversely affected by COVID. So, for us, that's one of the big risks.
Obviously, we're not Government funded. We are largely funded by entrance fees, commercial and a strong membership now. It was, before COVID-19, over 110,000 members in Wales, and we appreciate every single one.
I think, as I go back to the original point, unless we learn to work together as a cultural sector and refer to 'us' rather than 'me'—that 'we' do this together; I'm going to David's point around the local museums being as important as St Fagans—and that this collective, working together, and organisations like Andrew's that spanned the historic sector and the cultural sector are vitally important to us going forward, my biggest fear is that we are going to, whatever happens, whatever we can do in Wales, hit a period of austerity. And I cannot see our sector being able to survive that again. I fear that we will lose skills, we will lose the ability to rebuild, the ability to interpret the bumps and the grounds and the hills, and we will lose our history, because people will leave us, or they won't be trained, or they'll find another job.
And in my own world of television, we'll lose what we call story-tellers—those people who can inspire people around them—and, ultimately, what the people on this telephone call are are story-tellers, whether it's the library, it's museums or the lottery, that's what we do; we inspire people, tell stories that inspire people to look after their places. So, that's my biggest fear.
Thank you. I am aware that we've run over by a few minutes. Are witnesses still happy to stay with us for just a few minutes more? Is that okay? I know people's time is precious. Mick. Thank you.
There are some very important points there, I think, on digital infrastructure and collaboration—
I don't think there is a need to rush, Mick, if witnesses are happy to stay, because we've got—. Our slot is—. So, over to you.
Okay. We've covered most of the points I think that we can practically cover, and there are some really important points on the issue of digital infrastructure, the collaboration and so on. In terms of Welsh Government policy, of course, you've all made the comment about how important it is that this £59 million is used—we'll have to see how it arrives and emerges, but how it's used by Welsh Government. Part of the purpose of this report and this inquiry is to try and influence Government policy and to produce practical recommendations that can be implemented. If I was to say to each of you, 'Look, if there were, on your wish list, just one or two things that should change in respect of Government policy now', if you were able to, what would they be?
Who wants to start? If it's three rather than two, you'll be forgiven. David Anderson. Can you unmute yourself, David, sorry?
I think it's a point that's been made already, but it's worth making again: we are not an isolated sector. We are part of health, we're part of education, we're part of challenging poverty, and we need, with the support of our own departments in Governments, to be working very, very closely with those other departments, and we can therefore make much more change if we do that, and we need new skills in our staff to do it, but that's what we're developing anyway. So, I would say the big thing is—echoing, in some ways, what Justin was saying—we are part of the bigger whole. We should not be corralled as being a narrow definition of culture. We need to rethink culture, rethink museums, libraries and other cultural organisations, and be present in communities. It's as simple as that.
And if I can press you a little bit, what, if anything, does Welsh Government need to do in terms of its approach and its policy to help you to get to that?
I would say that what we all need, really, is that we agree work programmes, we're actually made responsible for delivering on work programmes, into the curriculum, working with the health boards and working with the health system, really, as well. We're about well-being, we're about wellness, and that's going to be the future for a lot of health as well. So, I think I said earlier on, if little is asked of us, little will be delivered. If a lot is asked of us, and we're challenged, I think we'll step forward for it. So, give us the KPIs, give us the big vision of what we can do on health across the whole of Wales, and then give us the infrastructure to be able to deliver it. It would be transformative.
So, clear expectations of you in new ways of working. Andrew, I'm going to give you the magic wand now. What would you like us to be recommending that Welsh Government needs to do differently or more of?
Well, what an opportunity.
I'm sure the First Minister will appreciate my advice. From our perspective, it's continued investment in future generations. It's about being inclusive, so that the people of Wales—all the peoples of Wales—feel that their heritage, their built environment and their natural surroundings not only belong to them, but are relevant to them, accessible to them, and tell a story of our wonderful, inclusive nation's culture and heritage.
And is there anything specific that you think the Welsh Government—? I'm picking up on David's point about clear expectations of the sector—is there anything else that you think that we need to be asking Welsh Government to do?
I think I'd agree with David's point there about KPIs being clear. We're in a situation where we do have KPIs and letters of association given to us every year. These are all changed. I think they need to be—. The situation in which we operate has changed dramatically, and these need now to be done in a post-COVID way that moves us to whatever the new normal is going to be.
That's really helpful.
Pedr, ar wahan i ffeindio arian i sicrhau bod y llyfrgell yn parhau, sydd yn eithaf sylfaenol, wrth gwrs, joking apart, oes yna angen newid polisi neu newid approach gan y Llywodraeth?
Pedr, apart from finding the funding to ensure that the library survives, which is quite fundamental, joking apart, is there a need for a change of policy or a change of approach from Government?
Dwi'n meddwl bod pob un ohonom ni—Llywodraeth Cymru a phob sefydliad cenedlaethaol arall hefyd—angen mynd i'r afael â thlodi go iawn. Rŵan, mae hwn yn gyfle £59 miliwn eto. Liciwn i feddwl bod Llywodraeth Cymru yn ystyried i ba raddau mae rhywfaint o'r arian yma yn medru cael ei fuddsoddi er mwyn trio lleddfu effeithiau tlodi. Mae tlodi yn rhywbeth sydd yn agos iawn at fy nghalon i oherwydd mod i wedi fy magu ar aelwyd ddifreintiedig pan oedd y tlodi materol, diwylliannol yn real iawn i ni fel plant a pobl ifanc.
I fynd yn ôl at David, i Lywodraeth Cymru sylweddoli ein bod ni fel sefydliadau cenedlaethol—yr amgueddfa a ninnau fel llyfrgell—drwy gydweithredu â llyfrgelloedd lleol yn medru mynd i'r afael, i ryw raddau, ag effeithiau tlodi yn yr ystyr diwylliannol a gwybodaeth. Dwi wedi gweld erthygl ddiddorol iawn am lyfrgell yn Lloegr yn ddiweddar yn dweud mai dyna yr unig ffynhonnell at wybodaeth oedd gan drigolion y gymuned yna; yn un peth, doedd dim trydan mewn llawer iawn o'r cartrefi, heb sôn am gysylltiad â'r wê. Roedd yr hits mwyaf ar wefan universal credit.
Rŵan, liciwn i pe bai Llywodraeth Cymru yn sylweddoli beth mae llyfrgelloedd lleol yn medru wneud i leddfu effeithiau tlodi, a rhoi gwybodaeth i bob un fel bod ni ddim yn gwahaniaethu rhwng aelwydydd. Mae gwybodaeth yn medru ein codi ni allan o'r sefyllfaoedd difrifol rydan ni'n ffeindio'n hunain ynddyn nhw, a gadewch i ni gydweithio er mwyn dileu difreintedd gwybodaeth a diwylliant ein cymunedau gyda'n gilydd.
I believe that each and every one of us—the Welsh Government and every other cultural institution—need to tackle poverty in a meaningful way. Now, this £59 million provides an opportunity, and I would hope that the Welsh Government is considering to what extent some of this funding can be invested in order to mitigate the impacts of poverty. Poverty is something that's very close to my heart because I was brought up in a disadvantaged household when material and cultural poverty was very real for us as children and as young people.
To return to David, I'd like the Welsh Government to realise that we as national institutions—the museum and ourselves as the library—by collaborating with local libraries, we are able to tackle, to some extent, the impacts of poverty in the cultural sense and in terms of the provision of information. I saw a very interesting article about a library in England recently stating that that was the only source of information that the residents of that particular community had; for one thing, there was no electricity in many of the homes, never mind access to the internet. The biggest number of hits was on the universal credit website.
Now, I would like the Welsh Government to realise what local libraries can do in terms of alleviating the impacts of poverty, and to provide information to everyone so that we don't discriminate between households. Information can lift us out of the grave situations we find ourselves in, and let us all work together in order to eradicate disadvantage in terms of culture and information within our communities.
Diolch, Pedr. Justin, how could the Welsh Government help do more? What should we recommend?
I agree with everybody; I joined the trust based upon Octavia Hill's vision of why she formed it, which was just to give access to those people who need it most to the outdoors, to beauty, to place. We took on these big houses later on, but the basic function of Octavia Hill, the great social housing pioneer, was to help those who needed it most, and that's why I joined the trust. That's what we do in the trust, and if there's anything I need the Government to do—I'd echo what everyone around here has been saying—and it's a rather loud message, is: put it in that, put it in ways that takes the elitism out of culture, that makes our culture much more arms wide open, that nobody feels out, that everyone feels welcome—challenged, yes, but challenged not because who they are but possibly because of the stories that are being told.
I hate hearing stories about people coming to my places or the forests we look after, or a house or a museum or a library and not feeling welcome. And we want to welcome—we really do everything in our hearts to make people welcome, but people still don't feel welcome. I spend a lot of time talking to communities who are not Welsh—Bangladeshi communities in Conwy of all places—and they would love to be more engaged. They don't feel welcome. If we can do anything to make people feel more welcome in our places, if I had my golden wish, that's what it would be.
Thank you. I think we would all be wanting to convey very clearly to those communities that they are Welsh indeed, and that their heritage is ours and ours is theirs. Thank you very much. Anything further, Mick?
I'm tempted, Chair, but, no, I think I'm really appreciative of the quality of the answers and the vision that's within them as well.
Diolch yn fawr i chi gyd. Yn gyntaf, diolch am aros am dipyn bach mwy o amser nag yr oedden ni'n rhagweld. Mae'r dystiolaeth wedi bod yn hynod o ddefnyddiol, fel mae Mick ac eraill wedi dweud. Byddwn ni'n anfon, fel arfer, transcript i chi er mwyn ichi sicrhau ei fod e'n gywir, ac rydyn ni wir yn gwerthfawrogi eich amser.
Gaf i jest, cyn inni ddweud ffarwél i chi, ddymuno'r gorau i Andrew White yn ei swydd newydd? Mae wedi gwneud campwaith o roi tystiolaeth i ni ar ôl dim ond pum wythnos mewn job sydd, dwi'n siŵr, yn un cymhleth ac yn heriol iawn. Mae lot ohonon ni yn y Senedd, wrth gwrs, yn adnabod Andrew'n dda iawn yn ei rôl flaenorol gyda Stonewall; mae wedi gwneud cyfraniad mawr i fywyd Cymru yn y rôl yna. A dŷn ni fel pwyllgor yn edrych ymlaen at gydweithredu gyda chi yn eich rôl newydd ac yn dymuno'r gorau i chi. Am amser i newid—am amser i gymryd drosodd swydd lle mae pobl yn mynd i fod yn gofyn i chi am arian, ond dŷn ni'n gwerthfawrogi eich amser heddiw a dŷn ni'n edrych ymlaen at weithio gyda chi.
So, wrth ddweud hyn, gawn ni ddweud hwyl fawr eto i'n tystion? Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi gyd am y dystiolaeth. Mae wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol iawn i ni. Da boch chi.
Thank you all very much. First of all, thank you for remaining a little longer than we'd first anticipated, but the evidence has been very useful indeed, as Mick and others have already said. We will, as usual, send you a transcript so that you can check it for accuracy, and we truly appreciate your contribution.
Before we say goodbye, may I just wish Andrew White well in his new role? You've given us a masterclass in giving evidence after just five weeks in a job that, I'm sure, is very complex and challenging. Many of us in the Senedd know Andrew very well from his previous role with Stonewall. He made a huge contribution to Welsh life in that role. We as a committee look forward to working with you in your new role too, and we wish you all the best. What a time to find yourself in a role where people are going to be asking you for funding. But we do appreciate your time today and we look forward to working with you.
So, with those few words, may I say goodbye to our witnesses and thank you once again for the evidence you've provided? It's been most useful.
Mae gyda ni un papur—symudwn at yr eitem nesaf, felly, sef eitem 3, papurau i'w nodi. Mae gyda ni un papur i'w nodi, sef llythyr gan Lywodraeth Cymru am gefnogaeth i gyfryngau lleol. Ydych chi'n hapus i nodi neu ydych chi am inni wneud rhywbeth pellach ar y mater? Hapus i nodi?
We do have one item remaining: papers to note. We have one paper to note, namely a letter from the Welsh Government on support for local media. Are you happy to note or do you want to do anything further on that issue? Happy to note that?
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Felly, dŷn ni'n symud at eitem 4, a dwi'n cynnig, gan gydymffurfio â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix), ein bod ni'n gwahardd y cyhoedd am weddill y cyfarfod, hynny yw ein bod ni'n rhoi stop ar y darlledu. Ydy'r Aelodau'n hapus â hynny? Pawb yn hapus. Felly, gallaf i ofyn i'r darlledu ddod i ben, os gwelwch yn dda?
So, we move to item 4, and I propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix), that the committee resolves to meet in private for the remainder of the meeting and that we cease broadcast. Are Members content? Everyone content. Therefore, can I ask that the broadcast should cease?
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 15:11.
The public part of the meeting ended at 15:11.