Ear Foundation to close after more than 30 years

The hearing-loss charity says that it has been struggling to cover its costs in recent years

The charity originally provided cochlear implants (Photograph: Cavan Images/Getty Images)
The charity originally provided cochlear implants (Photograph: Cavan Images/Getty Images)

The hearing-loss charity the Ear Foundation is to close next month after struggling with rising costs and increased competition for grants.

The Nottingham-based charity opened in 1989 and provides support to children and adults with hearing loss and their families.   

The charity was originally founded by surgeon Gerry O’Donoghue and audiological scientist Barry McCormick to provide cochlear implants for children at a time when they were not available in England. 

In an email sent on Friday, the foundation’s team said that it had reluctantly taken the decision to close on 6 March.

The charity said in the email that “rising costs and overheads, increased competition for charitable grants and cuts to training budgets in health and education” had had a substantial impact on its finances.

It said that staff and trustees had worked hard to address these issues by making changes to staffing and services, increasing grant applications and selling its residential building, Marjorie Sherman House.

But these steps had not resolved its financial problems and the charity had decided to sell its remaining property and close down in a “positive, solvent and ethical manner”.

The Charity Commission's website shows the charity’s annual accounts for the period to March 2019 were 21 days late on Friday. 

Its previous published accounts show it had an income of £1.1m in the 15 months to March 2018 and spent £1.2m. The charity also had net assets of almost £1.3m.

The charity employed 20 staff in 2018, according to the accounts.  

The charity said in an email: “Much has changed since the Ear Foundation opened its doors. Yet even with the latest technology and all that it offers to children and adults with hearing loss, there continues to be a need for person-centred, family-friendly and practical support and training.”

The email added that a number of the charity’s existing staff were planning to set up a new charity to provide services for deaf children, adults and their families. 

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