- Stay at home this Easter, urges Hilary McGrady, at what is traditionally one of the charity’s busiest times
- The Trust looks after some of NI’s most visited attractions including the Giant’s Causeway, Portstewart Strand, Mount Stewart and Murlough Nature Reserve
- Trust launches at-home activities including intergenerational Great Scavenger Hunt with its members to help families enjoy the holiday together
- In message to members McGrady thanks NHS and frontline workers
- Charity urges public to ‘hold onto the NHS rainbow signs, the messages to one another, the pictures of daily life’, so they and the nation will have a record of how they are living through an extraordinary period in history
The Director General of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, has today called for people across the UK to stay at home this Easter as part of the national collective effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The Director General who is from Northern Ireland, is encouraging people not to travel, but instead to find moments of joy in their own Easter celebrations at home, and to take reassurance from the spring beauty unfolding around us. She also thanks all those frontline workers who are fighting coronavirus and caring for its victims.
The beaches, houses, gardens and outdoor beauty spots in the charity’s care are traditionally a magnet over Easter weekend as people visit to celebrate, see nature awaken and take part in seasonal traditions.
While National Trust places remain closed, the charity hopes people will still celebrate Easter and spring traditions. The Trust recently launched a year of action to tackle ‘nature deficiency’, building on research in collaboration with Derby University which showed that children and adults who mark natural events and observe the daily and seasonal rhythms of nature, are more likely to take action to protect nature as well as reporting higher levels of wellbeing. 
McGrady said: “We know how sad our members and visitors are that they can’t travel to their favourite places to mark Easter and celebrate the arrival of spring this year, but our biggest priority has to be staying at home to help our NHS and keep ourselves and one another safe.
“During the closure we are still looking after the places people love, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming them back when it’s time. In the meantime, we’ve put together a new Easter experience with our members on our website so that people can stay connected to their favourite places and each other and create Easter memories in their own homes and gardens.”
Starting from this week the charity will launch a new rolling programme of online content which will include an intergenerational Great Easter Scavenger Hunt created with Trust members encouraging families – even those who are apart – to join in, find particular objects around their homes and gardens and share their photos and activities via the charity’s social media channels using @nationaltrustni.
Beginning before Easter and while social distancing measures continue, the Trust’s website will each week feature free-to-access articles, podcasts, videos, tips and activities for all age groups. These will include:
- showcases of historic treasures in the Trust’s vast collection, from papier-mâché Easter eggs to 18th-century porcelain shepherds and shepherdesses;
- exploring Easter traditions of the past and present such as egg rolling;
- ideas for families – craft and activities to do in the garden;
- expert garden Q&A articles on topics including spring flowers and house plants; and
- a Weekend Challenge bringing elements of a weekend National Trust visit into family homes, including the chance to turn your hallway into a World Heritage Site!
The charity’s social media channels will also join in the programme of home-based activities and content, with films, pictures and stories including some special seasonal recipes to try.
The charity is also calling on people to hold on to rainbow signs, letters and other pieces of ephemera from this extraordinary time.
McGrady continued: “When this period in our lives is over, future generations will want to know about this time, and we may all need help to remember. Many people are creating time-capsules and writing letters to the future – we’d encourage people to hold onto the wonderful rainbow window signs that are appearing around the country, the messages people are sending one another, the pictures of neighbours sharing their appreciation for critical workers.”
The National Trust’s Head of Experiences & Programming, Jessica Monaghan, said: “During these extraordinary times, while people can’t visit us, we want to take National Trust experiences to them. We’ll be working hard to share the best of the Trust with everyone, so that people can stay connected to nature and to their favourite places and have fun together.
“We have something for everyone – whether it’s our collections and houses you love and you want to enjoy them at home, or you’re looking for fun ways to connect with friends and family of all age groups.
“We hope we can help everyone stay close to the nature, beauty and history that the Trust is here to look after. Our new activities are ones that everybody can do – whether that’s in their own front rooms or gardens – while sticking to the Government guidelines.”
More information is available on www.nationaltrust.org.uk