THE Battle of Bannockburn Experience is set to re-open its centre "as soon as possible", following financial aid from the Scottish Government.

The National Trust for Scotland charity, which operates the centre, originally planned to keep the doors closed until 2022 after losing half ot its expected income due to Covid-19 closures.

The trust says the Bannockburn centre will re-open as soon as possible and there will be no redundanices there with 11 posts saved, thanks to government backing as well as donations.

The re-opening will start with the café and shop and other elements of the Bannockburn experience will open again to the public later this year.

Phil Long OBE, chief executive of the trust, has issued a "profound thanks" for the funding support.

He said: "We were confronted by the worst crisis in our charity’s history and we had a very real fear that this history was about to end abruptly.

"The generous support from the Scottish Government, together with the inspiring number of donations made by many individuals, has diverted us away from that terrible outcome.

“My joy at this announcement is tempered by the fact that the effects of Covid-19 are so devastating that we’re still having to say goodbye to many friends and colleagues.

"I wish it were not so, but much to my regret redundancies are unavoidable, although this support has helped us to keep them to the absolute minimum possible."

As a result of lockdown and subsequent restrictions, the trust has lost almost £30 million – half its expected income.

The charity’s proposed emergency measures included placing 429 positions at risk of redundancy as well as delaying the re-opening of some of the heritage properties in its care until 2021 or 2022.

Across Scotland, the number of compulsory redundancies will fall from 429 to 188 and the trust says most of the affected posts are seasional.

The number of built heritage properties to re-open will go from the 27 proposed in July to 33.

Mr Long added: "While many of the affected posts are seasonal and staff would have been finishing up for the year in a matter of weeks, we have modified our redundancy policy.

"If the situation improves sufficiently next year and we are able to recruit again, former staff can apply for posts after six months without having to repay their redundancy money.

“Through our consultation process on our emergency measures we received sage advice from staff and trust members, and especially from people in the Stirling area, on functions and expertise we needed to retain.

"As a result, we were able to come up with a resilient operating model that I’m confident will weather the aftermath of the Covid crisis.

“It has been a tough and demanding year so far, but I am glad that we have been able to begin the return to some form of normality.

"As we re-open properties we have been very busy ensuring that they are safe places to visit as we abide by the government guidelines designed to ensure the wellbeing of our welcome visitors and our volunteers and staff who I would also like to thank for their immense hard work and fortitude during this deeply concerning time.”