An urgent appeal has been launched to ensure Lundy Island’s survival beyond the 2020 season.
The island was hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown, losing vital income from holiday guests and day visitors through the spring and into the summer as it closed for 14 weeks.
The appeal said Lundy’s reserves have been ‘exhausted’ through the crisis, and costs have been reduced wherever possible, including making use of the Government’s furlough scheme.
The island reopened to guests on July 4 in line with the easing of lockdown rules, initially only to those staying in accommodation on the island.
Day trips on the MS Oldenburg have been reintroduced where possible, but with the boat operating at just over a third of its previous capacity to ensure social distancing can be maintained at all times, income from those trips has been slashed.
The National Heritage Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded Lundy a maximum grant of £250,000 from its emergency fund, but the appeal warned the emergency grant will ‘only go so far’.
Lundy general manager Derek Green said: “Our income has been dramatically reduced and we don’t see that position changing soon, hence we’ve had to launch this appeal to recoup some of that income from summer which keeps us going through the winter.
“It’s great to see people out and about on the island again, but clearly the lack of peak summer income is going to be a challenge, so we really need as much support and help from the public as possible.
“It’s very challenging for our crew and visitors, and quite frustrating. At a time when there is huge demand for day trip tickets we can’t take any more than around 90 people.
“It would be easy to put the price up but it doesn’t feel right to do.”
Mr Green said staff had shown great resilience in getting through the lockdown period and helping to make the island Covid-secure.
The Oldenburg and the island’s Marisco Tavern and general store have all had measures put in place to ensure social distancing.
On the boat, the capacity is down from 267 before the pandemic to ensure groups can keep two metres apart during the two-hour trip, with every passenger assigned a seat and protective screens put in place.
The pub has introduced a table service as well as different sittings for meals, and the general store has set up a click and collect service.
For more information about the appeal, visit the Lundy Island website.