Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 12:30

The Eden Project announced today that it made a cash surplus from trading of more than £1.6 million in the last financial year. Turnover and visitor numbers also increased significantly during the period.

Annual accounts for 2016/17 show that the trading cash surplus of £1,653,000 was down on the previous year’s figure of £1,823,000. However, it is the fourth successive year that Eden has recorded a significant profit.

During the year Eden made big investments in its staff and in the maintenance of its site near St Austell in Cornwall.

There have been increased costs meeting and exceeding the National Living Wage requirements by applying the wage to employees from age 21 rather than the mandatory 25.

Building on the success of the previous three years, turnover increased for the financial year by more than £1.8 million.

The health of the project, based near St Austell in Cornwall, was also reflected in an increase in visitor numbers.

During 2016, four per cent more people than the previous year visited Eden and numbers in December were the best ever for that month. For the first time since 2011, Eden welcomed more than one million visitors in a 12-month period.

There was continued growth in numbers for Eden degree programmes, with 100 students now studying on-site, in partnership with Cornwall College and Plymouth University.

The team has been strengthened by the arrival of a number of new staff at all levels, in particular the appointment of Dr Mike Maunder as Director of Life Sciences and Peter Wroe as Finance Director.

The first apprentices graduated from Eden’s rolling two-year programmes, some of whom have joined the permanent team.

Nearly 50,000 children visited the Cornwall site with their schools and the year also saw the launch of Little Eden, an outdoor club for under-fives.

In the Rainforest Biome, the Rainforest Canopy Walkway was extended, featuring the new Weather Maker exhibit.

Eden also received planning permission for the updated design of a 109-bedroom hotel on site.

In 2016 the eighth annual Big Lunch, the Eden-led project, was attended by 7.3 million people, including Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and HRH The Prince of Wales.

A set of on-site social prescribing initiatives were launched, including those tacking social isolation, COPD and other health issues.

Looking ahead, Peter Wroe, Finance Director of the Eden Project, said: “It has been another encouraging year, with good results in terms of our trading surplus, turnover and visitor numbers, all of which have helped us make significant investments in the team and our site.”

He said that the project would continue to invest in the Eden site in Cornwall. This would include construction work on a £3 million permanent exhibit called Invisible Worlds which will explore the world beyond the senses.

Peter added: “The kind generosity of the Wellcome Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the The Dr Mortimer And Theresa Sackler Foundation amongst others has made this important educational science exhibit possible.”