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Press release

Record voter turnout at today’s National Trust AGM as members have their say on charity’s work and direction

The National Trust AGM 2023, STEAM Museum, Swindon
The National Trust AGM 2023, STEAM Museum, Swindon | © National Trust Images/Megan Taylor

This year more than 156,000 members voted on four resolutions and elected five members of the National Trust Council at the charity’s Annual General Meeting on 11 November. This year’s voting participation rate was a record for the National Trust and builds on three consecutive years’ of high turnout from members.

A summary of the results of resolutions voting is as follows:
Resolution 1. Improvement of walking and cycling access to properties – carried (114,422 for/ 7,966 against)
Resolution 2. Removal of Quick Vote – not carried (60,327 for / 69,715 against)
Resolution 3. Removal of Council election recommendations – not carried (51,071 for / 73,503 against)
Resolution 4. Restoration of Clandon House –not carried (49,065 for / 74,298 against)

Trustees will consider the outcomes of the resolutions later this autumn before updating members.

René Olivieri, Chair of the National Trust’s Board of Trustees, said: “Our AGM is a celebration of everything it means to be a National Trust member. Membership means different things to different people: for some, the value lies in contributing to the protection of our national heritage. For others, it is a safe and beautiful space to spend time with loved ones, or to get that sense of still and quiet our founder, Octavia Hill, knew was so important. Whatever our motivation, we are united by the joy we find in nature, beauty and history, and the importance we place on having them in our lives.

“I would like to thank all our members who took the time to join us today, either in person or online. The Board of Trustees will now take some time to reflect on the outcomes of voting and we will be back in touch with members through our usual channels in the coming weeks.”

Members have also chosen five people to join the National Trust Council – the governing body which appoints trustees and helps to monitor and support their work. The Council is made up of 36 members who have a range of expertise in everything from education and agriculture to nature and the built environment.

Following the vote, the members joining the Council are:
James Dixon (85,787 votes, elected)
Inga Grimsey (84,021 votes, re-elected)
Sarah Hollingdale (88,156 votes, re-elected)
Simon Kearey (77,928 votes, elected)
Michael Salter-Church (81,023 votes, re-elected)

Guest speakers at this year’s AGM included historian Alice Loxton, who spoke about the importance of engaging young people with history, and Catherine Johnstone, CEO of the Royal Voluntary Service, who discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the UK voluntary sector. The AGM paused at 11am to observe the two minutes silence as a mark of respect to those who have lost their lives in conflict. Serena Ittoo, whose success in last year’s Forthlin Sessions has led her to release her first single, spoke about her journey since being given the chance to visit, write and perform at Forthlin Road, the childhood home of Paul and Mike McCartney.

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “I’m very proud of our democratic traditions at the National Trust. The AGM is not the only way that members can express their views – this week, we concluded the largest ever consultation on our work and direction as part of our ongoing strategy review. But the AGM is the biggest, regular forum we have for conversation with our members on our charitable purpose.

“As another AGM draws to a close, it’s important for us to reflect on the questions, observations and experiences that members have shared with us today. These opportunities to listen, debate and inspire are part of what makes the National Trust special and I encourage all our members to make their voice heard by taking part in next year’s AGM.”

Questions from members ranged from the provision of tactile displays to interpretation panels, from the importance of ensuring ethical standards in retail suppliers to engaging young people with history and the wider work of the Trust.

The results of quick vote were 41% for resolutions and 46% for Council elections.

The full resolution results can be read here: The complete day’s recording will be available shortly on the same page.