Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - 09:45

The Eden Project’s annual accounts for 2015/16 show that it made a cash surplus from trading of £1.8 million in the last financial year.

The surplus, representing a 30 per cent increase on the previous year’s trading, was helped by an 11.6 per cent growth in visitor numbers during the 12-month period.

Building on the success of the previous two years, Eden also enjoyed an increase in turnover for the financial year of more than 14.8 per cent.

In addition to running the South West’s leading visitor attraction, Eden has a broader operation of established and growing projects. These include The Big Lunch community programme, Eden’s growing Higher Education provision, its commitment to apprenticeships, the launch of the HotHouse leadership development programme and the provision of on-site accommodation.

Commenting on the results, Eden Project Executive Director David Harland said: “This has been the third year in succession of steady improvement in Eden’s finances as it continues to be sustainable.  This allows us to invest further in our charitable programmes.

“The significant increase in our trading surplus is due largely to previous investments into both the site and other programmes and developments starting to bear fruit.

“Eden will continue to invest in maintaining and improving the site, its educational programmes and will continue to reduce historic debt. By investing for the long term in this way, Eden will preserve its remarkable infrastructure and educational mission for future generations.”

During 2015/16 Eden reduced its loans and leasing liabilities by £1.4 million.

A challenge for the project  is to self-fund new projects in the societal, health and science arena.

David Harland said:  “Eden’s charitable and educational aims in these areas have been endorsed by like-minded funders during 2015/16 and we thank the Wellcome Trust and The Big Lottery Fund in particular, for their philanthropic funding.

“We also thank our growing community of Eden Project Members for their support. We hope to be able to develop further educational projects with the support of funders, including the creation of the Invisible Worlds permanent science exhibit due to open in 2018.”

Beyond its site near St Austell, Cornwall, the most significant development for Eden during the financial year was the signing in September 2015 of an historic agreement for a new Eden Project in the city of Qingdao, located on China’s Eastern coast between Beijing and Shanghai.  The aim of the project is to transform the environmentally-damaged site into the first overseas Eden Project. The theme is to be water in all of its forms.

David Harland said:  “We are expecting the project to move forward rapidly during 2016/17. While it is too early to reveal any further overseas projects, the team have been working on a number of potential projects to achieve the mission of an Eden on every inhabited continent. We hope to be able to announce a new project in Australia during 2016/17, as well as further developments in China, USA and mainland Europe.”