Girlguiding has furloughed more than half of its workforce in the face of estimated losses of up to £5m this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The charity, which had an income of just under £25m in 2018, said the cancellation of weekly Girlguiding meetings and events, a decline in trading and other income, plus reduced fundraising activity, said it was estimating losses of between £3m and £5m in 2020.
In total, 158 of the charity’s 309 staff have been put on furlough until at least 31 May, subject to review, from across all of its operations.
Angela Salt, chief executive of the charity, said furloughing staff had been a “very difficult decision”, but this, alongside pausing major work projects and plans, would help to secure the charity’s immediate and long-term futures.
“We’re working with the government and other potential funders to minimise the damage of the pandemic to the life chances of children and young people, and to highlight the impact of the pandemic on gender equality,” she said.
“The guiding spirit is strong nonetheless, and last month we launched #AdventuresAtHome, an online hub of activities open to our members and children and young people across the UK to help them continue to have fun, build resilience and support their wellbeing.
“Volunteers across the UK have also been delivering virtual guiding, keeping our members connected with their weekly unit meetings. We’ll be doing all we can to stay connected in the coming months.”
The charity calls on 100,000 volunteers to support almost 400,000 girls and young women in the UK.