A NORTH-EAST museum has said almost 60 jobs are at risk of redundancy following the "devastating" impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on its revenue.

Beamish Museum, near Chester-le-Street, was completely closed for four months following the Covid-19 lockdown in March.

The museum, which said 95 per cent of its income had come from visitors, said it had been forced to make cut of 59 jobs following the impact. 

In a statement, Rhiannon Hiles, Beamish Museum’s Deputy Director said: "We are deeply saddened that as COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the museum, we have had to take the step of placing a number of roles at risk of redundancy, subject to collective consultation.

“As a charity, 95 per cent of our income comes from our visitors. The mandatory four-month closure due to COVID-19, and recent reopening with restricted capacity, have had a major impact on our visitor numbers and our finances.

“We have been doing everything we possibly can to secure the future of Beamish, including launching a fundraising campaign, reducing our costs and applying for all support and loans available to us, and we continue to take every possible step to ensure the long-term sustainable future of the museum.

“However, despite this, like many organisations across the museums, heritage and tourism sectors, COVID-19 has had a devastating and unprecedented impact. At Beamish, where we have more than 400 much-valued employees, we have been left with no option but to take the incredibly difficult decision to begin a period of collective consultation."

Ms Hiles said the redundancies were now subject to the outcome of consultations with affected staff.

She said the museum would seek to ‘retain’ as many of the affected roles as possible as she thanked members of the public for their support during the ‘difficult period.’

"This unfortunately means we have had to put 59 roles at risk of redundancy, subject of course to the outcome of the consultation. Our people mean so much to us and we will seek to retain as many of the 59 roles as possible as we work through this difficult period.

“We would like to thank all our visitors, Friends, Business Friends, funders and partners for their ongoing support during these difficult times. Your support is truly appreciated, as we work to secure the future of Beamish Museum for generations to come.”