I write with news that the ESU Board of Governors has decided that, with the continuing financial pressures caused by the non-payment of rent by the Chesterfield Hotel, we cannot afford to reopen Dartmouth House for daily member use. It costs nearly £400k annually to maintain and staff the House and although commercial events – particularly weddings and conferences – are now resuming, they do not cover costs.
We realise this will be disappointing to some of you and ask for your understanding and support. As an educational charity, our charitable work must come first, particularly at this time when children’s communication skills have suffered so much through the isolation caused by the pandemic. As a result of prudent financial management, we are able to engage with schools, and seek to bring positive impact to all pupils, especially those in the most disadvantaged areas.
Our national competitions have got off to a great start this year with high (and in some cases record-breaking) numbers of registrations. Bookings for our Discover Your Voice workshops are starting to come in and our scholarship programmes including the Secondary School Exchange, the Lindemann Fellowship and educational travel scholarships are all well underway. We thank you for your continued support which makes all this possible, helping young people to gain the speaking and listening skills and cultural understanding they need to thrive.
While we cannot open Dartmouth House on a daily basis, we are delighted to be able to open it for a number of special events this autumn at which we hope to have the pleasure of seeing you. Several branches are also now holding events, and we have some more exciting online events coming up too, so do please check our What’s On page for more details. And if you’d like to meet and connect with other people through volunteering, either for our competitions or through your local branch, we’d always love to hear from you. Please just drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your membership, commitment and support for the English-Speaking Union.
With good wishes,