Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Vitalise

Patrick McCurry

Vitalise (formerly the Winged Fellowship Trust) is a national disability charity providing breaks for disabled adults, children and their carers at five centres in Cornwall, Nottingham, Southport, Essex and Southampton.

Total income: £8.4m for the year ending 31 January 2005, down from £8.7m in 2003/04.

Highest salary: One member of staff was paid £75,000.

Reserves policy: There is a working capital fund to cover the cyclical cash flow, and the aim is for this to cover three months' revenue spending. At the end of the financial year it covered two and a half months.

Fundraising costs: The charity raised £2.5m in voluntary income and its fundraising costs totalled £968,000. This gave it a fundraising ratio of 39p in the pound, up 50 per cent from the previous year's ratio of 26p.

How performance is communicated: The trustees' report is reasonably understandable and includes some information on plans for the coming year, but it has few performance indicators or other mechanisms to assess impact. The report is not available online, but the website - www.vitalise.org.uk - does include an interesting online forum that allows service users and others to access information or give their views.

The charity says: "Turnover declined, but this was largely due to exceptional income from a capital appeal the year before - the underlying trend is one of growth. Our largest source of income continues to be our guest fees, followed by donations and legacies.

"Other income for the year came from our trading subsidiary and the sale of one of our properties. By the end of the year, the working capital fund had risen to £1.6m, which is close to the three-month level set by the trustees and gives us increasing financial security."

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