Charities plan major job cuts in response to funding shortages

Dozens of workers at Help the Aged, RNIB and Carers UK are facing the axe in the run-up to Christmas as the three charities cut costs by shedding jobs.

Help the Aged admitted it planned to make "about 50" redundancies, though insiders said they expected it would be more like 100. The charity said it needed to reduce costs because it would end this year £6m short of its fundraising target of £75m, and did not expect the situation to improve next year.

RNIB is planning at least 40 job cuts, after issuing 106 redundancy notices to its community fundraising teams. The charity intends to centralise its fundraising and events activity in the regions to make it more efficient.

Carers UK chief executive Diana Whitworth has resigned after the charity announced it was making seven staff redundant to help cut spending by £300,000. She will leave at the end of the year and deputy chief executive Imelda Redmond will become acting chief executive. Her appointment will be reviewed by the charity's trustees after a year.

Three full-time and three part-time staff are being made redundant to plug a deficit caused by a failure to meet fundraising targets.

Help the Aged's director of communications and marketing, Steve Jones, said the 50 jobs would be shaved off the total 1,800-strong workforce at head office and in the field.

He said the charity had achieved good income growth for the last six or seven years, but was unable to match it this year. Legacy income was particularly below target but there was pressure in all fundraising areas, including donations, retailing, and commercial products such as insurance.

"It is paramount that we continue to deliver services to older people and preserve our services as far as possible. We need to strike the right balance, reduce numbers of services in particular areas, and make them more effective."

Jones cited the 2.3 million information leaflets the charity distributes each year through 9,000 organisations, saying it could rationalise the leaflets and target them more carefully.

Help the Aged is entirely independently funded, and doesn't contract with any government department. Jones said it wouldn't change this strategy, despite the current problems: "It's not part of our thinking at the moment."

An RNIB spokeswoman said there would be 64 posts in the restructured community fundraising division and that the charity is also expanding its telephone fundraising teams. The charity said it hoped to find new jobs for as many staff as possible.

In February RNIB laid off more than 100 staff to stave off a financial crisis.

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