British Heart Foundation income remained flat last year

Total income at the British Heart Foundation remained broadly flat last year, according to the latest figures.

The charity’s accounts show that total income fell by £1.5m year on year to £336.5m in the year to the end of March.

Income from fundraising and legacies was down by £3.6m to £132.5m. Legacies remain the medical research charity’s biggest source of voluntary income at £80.8m.

Its expenditure on research fell from nearly £115m to £93.1m, while money spent on raising funds also fell slightly, to £38.7m.

The charitys trading income rose by nearly £2m on the previous year, up to £19.6m.

But trading costs have risen £14.4m, leaving its contribution from trading activities at just £7.7m.

Profit from its trading subsidiary, BHF Retail, was £9.7m, down from £22.9m on the previous year.

The decline includes an estimated £4.9m loss of net incomes following the closure of its 750 shops in March due to the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as the £2.7m impact of incremental provisions and asset impairments that, in part, reflected the ongoing impact of the pandemic, according to the accounts.

In addition, staff costs rose by nearly £6m to £106.1m, as its total number of employees increased to 4,433. Most of the nearly 200 new additions were recruited to the charity’s head office.

The charity warned in July that it was expecting a fall in income over the next year because of cancelled fundraising events, and the closure of its shops meant it anticipated having to halve its annual £100m research budget.

BHF announced earlier this month that Amanda Bringans, director of fundraising, was among three directors who would leave the charity as part of a major restructure caused by the pandemic.

The charity has also warned that 300 jobs were at risk as a result of Covid-19 and it is consulting staff on cost-saving measures.

On a more positive note, the accounts showed that online retail sales continued to grow last year, particularly through eBay. Total sales reached £6.7m, up 18 per cent on the previous year.

Douglas Gurr, chair of BHF, said in his foreword to the accounts that the challenges posed by the pandemic since the start of the year had led to some difficult organisational decisions, but now was the time to look forward.

“The number of early deaths attributed to heart and circulatory diseases in the UK is rising. And if we’re going to turn that around, we are going to need to take bold steps,” he said.

The highest salary at the charity fell slightly to between £200,000 and £210,000, down from £210,000-£220,000 in the previous year.

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