Finance News: The Numbers - Weston Spirit

Patrick McCurry

Weston Spirit is a national youth organisation co-founded by Falklands War veteran Simon Weston. It tackles issues of social exclusion through personal and social development programmes.

Total income £3.2m for the year ending 31 March 2004, down from £3.4m in 2002/03.

Highest salary Chief executive Ben Harrison and strategic director Paul Oginsky were both paid between £40,000 and £50,000.

Reserves policy A review concluded that the charity needs free reserves of six months of annual running costs. It recognises the importance of rebuilding this buffer in order to provide uninterrupted services to young people.

Fundraising costs The charity spent £700,000 on fundraising and publicity, and its fundraised income was £2.05m. This equates to 34p for every £1 raised, higher than the previous year's ratio of 29 per cent.

How performance is communicated The award-winning annual report is clear and very readable. It describes in jargon-free text the activities of the charity, as well as highlighting how it performed against its targets and what its objectives are for the coming year. The report and further information are available at www.westonspirit.org.uk.

The charity says This was a tough year financially, and we recorded our first deficit in 12 years. This was largely due to a fall in public sector funding. We have grown significantly - this required investment to improve our systems.

A greater proportion of our non-public sector income came from funds subject to restrictions. As money received from companies and trusts increasingly carries restrictions, it is important to maintain and increase our unrestricted income in the form of voluntary giving from individuals and the community.

Fundraising costs increased as a result of investing in this area.

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