Action for Children records rise in fundraising income despite pandemic

A sharp rise in legacies and one-off gifts enabled Action for Children to increase its fundraising income by more than £1.2m last year despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

The charity’s latest accounts show its income from legacies and donations reached almost £20m in the year to the end of March, up from £18.7m in the previous 12 months. 

Legacy income rose from £3.6m to £5.7m in 2020/21, while donations held up to fall by £800,000 year-on-year to £14.3m, despite the cancellation of most in-person fundraising. 

Fundraising activities included Boycott your Bed, a new virtual event held in August last year that invited people to sleep in the most unusual place they could think of. It raised more than £350,000.

The charity recorded a total income of £145.2m, down by £1.4m on the previous year. 

But it reduced expenditure to £139.4m compared with £147.9m in the previous 12 months. 

The charity said it carried out a restructuring programme during the pandemic which led to 87 redundancies.

The accounts show it spent £2m on redundancy and termination costs over the course of the year, up from £400,000 in the previous 12 months. 

The average number of people employed by the charity fell from 4,990 in 2019/20 to 4,741 last year. 

The charity said it helped slightly more than 600,000 children, young people and their families over the course of the year, a 64 per cent increase on the previous year. 

Action for Children said this was down to an increase in digital services to help people through the pandemic. 

It said the pandemic caused it to bring forward to June 2020 the launch of Parent Talk, a digital advice and chat service for parents and carers that was due to go live this year. 

It helped more than 360,000 parents and carers over the course of the year. 

An Action for Children spokesperson said: “We were lucky to benefit from several one-off donations, which we know were unique to last year. We’re extremely grateful to those generous supporters who left us a gift in their will, too.”

The spokesperson also said: “In 2020 during the pandemic, like many charities we carried out a restructuring programme to tackle the financial challenges exacerbated by the Covid crisis and worked hard to make our organisation more effective and efficient.”

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