The Wicksteed Charitable Trust, which owns Wicksteed Park, has launched a fundraising appeal in a bid to save the park in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wicksteed Park is the oldest theme park on the UK mainland and one of the oldest in the world. It is owned by Wicksteed Charitable Trust but has been run by a wholly-owned subsidiary company, Wicksteed Park Ltd.
Wicksteed Park Ltd has been unable to avoid going into administration, with the loss of 48 permanent staff and 67 part-time and other jobs, due to the huge financial strain caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Backed by the Wicksteed Charitable Trust a small group of employees has formed a new company much reduced in size, to try and safeguard the future of the park.
The decision to call in administrators comes after the government announced the closure of the hospitality and leisure industry, hitting seasonal businesses particularly hard.
Oliver Wicksteed, chairman of the Wicksteed Charitable Trust, revealed how the park had fallen victim to an unprecedented and totally unforeseen set of circumstances. The coronavirus outbreak left the Trust with no income for months, apart from a small amount of car parking revenue, prompting it to ask people to help ensure that the park survives for visitors to enjoy during next year’s centenary year and beyond.