Age UK cut 400 jobs and closed a third of its shops last year

The charity's accounts says its network of almost 400 stores made an operating loss of £2m in 2019/20

(Photograph: In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Photograph: In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images)

Age UK shed more than 400 jobs and closed about a third of its stores last year as it looked to make annual savings of £15m.

The older people's charity said it implemented the measures to help it deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to its latest accounts, for the year to the end of March 2020. 

The accounts say the charity’s 392 stores made an operating loss of £2m, down from a profit of £700,000 in 2018/19.

The charity reported a total income of £130.9m, a £3m increase on the previous year.

Total spending rose by more than £7m to £136.3m. 

The total number of staff at the charity increased by about 50 year on year to 1,519, but it paid out nearly £1.4m in redundancies.

In April, the charity announced it was furloughing 70 per cent of its staff, the vast majority of whom worked in the charity’s retail division. 

In the financial review section of its accounts, the charity says: “The enforced closure of our shop network due to lockdown, which began in the prior year and contributed to our deficit position, will have deeper and more long-lasting effects this year.

“The 15 weeks’ closure saw us lose £12m in shop income, which we cannot recover even though many of our shops are now open and trading conditions are encouraging. 

“Not all our shops have reopened. Sadly, we had no choice but to consult on the closure of 133 shops.

“In total, we are preparing for projected savings of around £15m this year, which will include over 400 redundancies, in addition to other savings and efficiencies.”

A spokesperson for the charity confirmed the consultation and accompanying job losses had been completed. 

"The great majority of whom were from our retail division but also included a much smaller number in non-public facing roles from other parts of Age UK," the spokesperson said. 

The accounts also say that safeguarding concerns at the charity were up nearly a quarter year on year to 357. 

The charity said this is the result of measures it had taken to raise awareness among staff and volunteers of the importance of highlighting anything that worries them.

- An earlier version of this story said the charity was proposing to cut 400 jobs and close 133 stores 

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