Edward Jenner and the story of the eradication of smallpox shows how we can work together to overcome even the most feared of diseases. At Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden, the place where the British scientist Jenner carried out his pioneering research into vaccination, we celebrate his achievements and show how curiosity can change the world. Now, a new disease is affecting humanity and we have had to close to protect our visitors, workforce and community from COVID-19. It costs us £206 per day to preserve Jenner's home and as an independent charity we rely on our visitors for 70% of our annual income. In these uncertain times we need your help to survive.
Scientists around the world are currently working hard to find out more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and to create a vaccine that will save lives. When this is all over, we'll be here to tell that story and to provide a tranquil place for people to meet together once again. In the meantime, we must take precautions to protect each other.
For us, that means closing our doors without knowing when we'll open again. Like many charities, we do not hold significant reserves and rely on admission tickets, shop sales, venue hire, events, school visits and donations to generate 70% of our annual income and help us to remain open. Any length of closure puts the museum at risk; the loss of a whole year of visitor income could prove catastrophic.
It costs £206 per day to keep Dr Jenner's House, Museum and Garden operational: to preserve the house and unique garden, to entertain and inform our visitors by opening the museum, to run our educational programmes for learners of all ages, to provide worthwhile and enjoyable volunteering opportunities for students and adults alike, and to research and share our collections. That's over £75,000 each year, and those costs will not change in the light of coronavirus.
So we're asking you to help us to raise £34,490. This is an amount which we believe will enable us to see out the current circumstances and allow us to reopen in due course.
Born in Berkeley in 1749, Edward Jenner spent his life making remarkable discoveries, the most important of which was a technique to protect people from the feared disease smallpox. He called this practice ‘vaccination’. By 1979 smallpox had been eradicated worldwide, after a coordinated international campaign finally brought about the culmination of Jenner's work. But the story doesn't end there. Inspired by Jenner, researchers continue to find vaccines to protect against other diseases and vaccination now saves between two and three million lives every year. It's one of the greatest discoveries of all, brought about by one man's curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
This is a story for our times but to continue sharing it we need your help now.
We do not know how long we will need to remain closed for, but every passing day without income puts the museum's future at risk and means we have to spend more time raising vital funds rather than communicating Jenner's remarkable story. We hope that we may be eligible for some government grants, the details of which are still unclear, and we are also applying for emergency funding in competitive processes where the outcome is not guaranteed.
We need to act now to secure our future, so we are asking you to consider supporting us through the next year. We know that times are hard for everyone at the moment, but we want to provide a beacon of hope through these uncertain circumstances.
This is a story of humanity's triumph over disease.
Now more than ever, the world needs to know about Edward Jenner and his remarkable legacy.
But we need your help to continue to share it. Please join our campaign and keep Dr Jenner's House open.
Find out more on our website.