Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Henshaws Society for Blind People

Patrick McCurry

Henshaws provides specialist housing and support for blind and partially sighted people across the north of England.

Total income: £9.3m for the year ending 31 March 2005, up from £8.6m in 2004.

Highest salary: The charity's highest-paid director earned £64,000.

Reserves policy: The charity reviewed its reserves policy and assigned individual risk factors to different sources of income. Its aim is to hold free reserves of at least £1m, mainly to protect against uncertainties surrounding fundraising and time-limited funding. At the end of the last financial year, free reserves stood at £1.7m.

Fundraising costs: The charity raised £1.8m in voluntary income and statutory grants, and spent £670,000 on general and capital appeals. This gave it a fundraising ratio of 37p in the pound.

How performance is communicated: The commentary in the financial report gives a comprehensive overview of the charity's activities, but it is the glossier annual review that most supporters will read. This has a lot of information, although the crowded layout could perhaps be simplified.

Nevertheless, there are useful statistics on services and clearly defined objectives for the coming year. There is also a lot of information on the charity's website,

The charity says: "During the year, we spent £10m (excluding depreciation charges) improving the quality of life of more than 2,000 visually impaired people. In addition to the routine spending on our specialist services, we spent more than £500,000 on the first phase of refurbishing teaching areas at our college in Harrogate.

"The need to secure continuing funding for our Skillstep training programme and our children and family services teams is a priority - the fundraising team is aiming to raise £5m over the next three years."

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