Members of the National Trust have raised objections to a charity calendar that excludes Christmas and Easter while including festivals from other religions. The calendar, which is provided for volunteers, features Hinduism’s Diwali, Islam’s Eid, and Ramadan. However, there is no mention of Christian holidays. These concerns were raised at the National Trust’s annual meeting, where other issues such as the charity’s focus on gay history and the slavery links of its historic properties were also discussed. The Trust’s spokesperson defended the calendar, stating that Christmas and Easter are still important dates for the organization, but the special calendar aims to broaden the range of events offered at attractions.
During the heated annual general meeting, Trust member David Lamming brought up the concerns raised by a volunteer regarding the exclusion of Christmas and Easter from the calendar. Another audience member applauded and commented that the calendar reflected the Trust’s excessive focus on being “woke.” In response, a National Trust spokesperson explained that the calendar is meant to supplement the organization’s year-round programming, which already includes Christmas and Easter. The spokesperson emphasized the importance of marking various religious and cultural festivals to serve local communities and promote cultural understanding.
Controversy also arose at the conference over the Trust’s introduction of a new “quick vote” method for electing the charity’s overseeing council and indicating preferences for proposed policy changes. Critics argued that this system reduces members’ control and increases the power of the trustees without holding them accountable. Despite attempts to reverse the introduction of the system, it remained in place. Retired Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption, who failed to secure a place on the council, criticized the “quick vote” system for essentially turning elections into co-options by the trustees. He questioned the selection process, stating that it is unusual for a body designed to hold trustees accountable to be selected by the trustees themselves.
Lord Sumption had received endorsement from the National Trust faction Restore Trust, which was established due to concerns about the trustees making increasingly political decisions. Many members believe that the charity should focus on its core purpose of restoring and maintaining historic properties.
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