Tuesday 13 October 2020 9:06 am

Facebook donates £1m to Bletchley Park after Covid-19 hit

Facebook has donated £1m to Bletchley Park to help the World War Two code-breaking hub survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The social media platform described Bletchley Park as “one of the UK’s national treasures” and said its donation aimed to help keep it open to the world.

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During the Second World War Bletchley Park was home to a team of almost 10,000 people, including top scientist Alan Turing, who successfully cracked the Germans’ coded communications.

Their work is believed to have helped shorten the war and save millions of lives, as well as laying the foundations for modern computer science.

The country house, located near Milton Keynes, is now an independent charity and museum showcasing the work of the pioneering codebreakers.

But it has suffered a sharp downturn in visitors numbers and revenue this year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

In August Bletchley Park said it was on course to lose £2m and warned it would have to make 35 redundancies – roughly a third of its total workforce.

But the museum said Facebook’s donation would mean some of the jobs will be saved.

“This vital support will contribute to our ongoing work and help mitigate the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the Trust,” it said.

The tech giant boost comes after Bletchley Park received £447,000 from the government’s cultural recovery fund.

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Mike Schoepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, said Facebook “simply would not exist today if not for Bletchley Park”.

“The work of its most brilliant scientist, Alan Turing, still inspires our tens of thousands of engineers and research scientists today, and is foundational to the entire field of computing, which has and will continue to shape the lives of billions of people,” he wrote in a blog post.

He added: “We hope that by helping keep Bletchley Park open, more people can learn the story of the diverse group of people that founded modern computing.”

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