Page last updated at 23:12 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 00:12 UK

Trust's membership hits new high

St Kilda
The trust said it would cost millions to clean up St Kilda

Membership of the conservation charity National Trust for Scotland has reached its highest ever level.

Between February and July this year, membership of the body, set up in 1931, increased by 6,000 to 315,000.

Its annual review for February 2008 to 2009 also revealed the trust received more than £10m from membership in the last financial year.

The rise has come at a difficult time for the organisation, which recently announced a programme of cutbacks.

The National Trust for Scotland looks after more than 100 historic properties which showcase Scotland's architectural heritage, including Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire and Newhailes, in East Lothian.

Job cuts

The charity's chief executive, Kate Mavor, said: "As our accounts show, our members remain our most important asset, and their contributions make the largest contribution to the charity, so it is good news that we are continuing to attract more and more members."

The charity also boosted its general income fund, which helps to pay for conservation work, by £900,000 to £4.1m.

The figures came after the organisation said in May its planned redundancies had been reduced from 91 to 65 full-time jobs after talks with staff and unions.

But the trust said 46 seasonal jobs would be cut, with 16 other posts in doubt, while Hutchesons' Hall in Glasgow, Leith Hall in Aberdeenshire, Ben Lawers visitor centre and Hill of Tarvit Mansion House in Fife would close.

It also warned the planned closure of the military rocket range radar station on Hirta in St Kilda, a world heritage site owned by the trust, would cost millions of pounds to remove.

The National Trust for Scotland said it was continuing to work hard to control costs and ensure its long-term financial future.

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