Bad weather has drained hundreds of thousands of pounds from the coffers of the RHS, which is trying to bounce back into the money. “It was as bad as it gets in terms of weather,” finance director Sarah Buxton said of the £700,000 slide in net income last year to £16.6m. “We had an appalling spring and a summer that was far too hot, which meant visits were down.” The RHS is about to embark on a major membership and fundraising online push, while its £8m bicentenary glasshouse project will have an “amazing effect” on visitor numbers, she said. Meanwhile, the RHS is re-tendering all contracts for professional services to squeeze out more value for money. Membership is “holding steady” at 365,000 and more than one million people visited RHS properties last year. And though staff numbers have risen by 175 to 700 in five years, the RHS is a complex set up and now handles publishing and sales in-house, Buxton said. Treasurer Giles Coode-Adams told the annual review of results for the year to 31 January 2007: “We need to build on our membership and fundraising, and maintain strong cost controls.”
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