Facebook donates £1m to secure future of Bletchley Park

Oct 13, 2020

Colossus: The wartime code-breaking machine rebuilt at Bletchley Park.

SOCIAL media giant Facebook has donated £1 million to secure the future of Bletchley Park.

The gift recognises the importance of Bletchley Park’s legacy as a birthplace of modern computing and will ensure that the Bletchley Park Trust can weather its current financial crisis caused by the effects of  thecoronavirus pandemic.

The money will save some at-risk roles that otherwise would have been made redundant. It also means that Bletchley Park’s recognised and award-winning visitor experience, exhibitions and learning programmes will continue.

Until the pandemic, the Trust’s business strategy would have ensured its long-term survival. Last year, Bletchley Park welcomed over 280,000 visitors and over 47,000 participants in its learning programmes. 

However, the loss of over 95% of its income during its four-month closure and reduced visitor numbers since reopening on 4 July, means that Bletchley Park Trust expects to be facing a £2 million deficit this year.

The Mansion House at Bletchley Park.

Steve Hatch, Facebook’s vice-president for northern Europe, said: “The historic achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team have benefited all of us greatly, including Facebook, and we are thrilled to help preserve this spiritual home of modern computing.

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

This would not have been possible without the legacy of Alan Turing and his team and our hope is that Bletchley staying open inspires the next generation of engineers.”

Facebook has been in the UK for over a decade and is home to more than 3,000 employees, of which more than half are highly skilled engineering roles. They have built dedicated teams to develop Artificial Intelligence technology – a technology which only exists because of the ground-breaking achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team. 

The donation to Bletchley Park builds on the work Facebook already does to encourage next generation tech talent in the UK including working with Girls Who Code, Primary Engineer, and the Royal Academy of Engineering to inspire young people to be the engineers of tomorrow. 

Iain Standen

Bletchley Park chief executive Iain Standen said: “We are very grateful to Facebook for their generous donation which highlights the ongoing legacy of pioneering technology developed here during World War Two.

“With this significant support, the Bletchley Park Trust will be better positioned to operate in the ‘new world’, and keep its doors open for future generations.”

 Bletchley Park Trust is a registered charity, heritage attraction and independent museum, open daily, whose mission is to attract, engage and educate people from all over the world in order to inspire them with Bletchley Park’s crucial role in the Second World War.

As an independent charity, it relies on income from visitors, Friends and supporters to secure the long-term future of the site.

Bletchley Park is open daily to visitors, who can explore atmospheric set dress codebreaking huts, immersive exhibitions, and enjoy the beautiful, spacious grounds. It has received Visit England’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark in recognition of all the safety measures in place for visitors and team members. Under 12s visit for free.

Pre-booking essential – visit https://bletchleypark.org.uk/

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