Income at the British Heart Foundation reaches £170m

The charity's accounts for the year to 31 March 2018 show a 14 per cent rise in the value of legacies helped its income to grow

Income at the British Heart Foundation has increased by £11.3m to £170.2m, the charity’s latest accounts show.

According to the accounts for the year to 31 March 2018, which were published on Companies House earlier this week, the BHF’s expenditure was £172.2m, meaning the charity incurred a £2m deficit for the year, compared with a £6.5m deficit in 2016/17.

The accounts show that there was a 14 per cent increase in legacy income, which was the biggest reason for the overall increase in income.

Legacy income therefore stood at £83.4m, while fundraising income fell by £600,000 to £53m, according to the accounts.

There was also a 10 per cent increase in BHF’s retail profits, which have now reached £27.7m, meaning it remains the UK’s largest charity retailer, the accounts say.

The accounts say there was a 5 per cent rise in sales in the charity’s shops to £185.5m, while trading costs also increased by 4.1 per cent to £157.8m.

This was complemented by a 28 per cent increase in online sales compared with the previous year, the charity says in the accounts, which means that online sales earned the charity £4.6m.

But the costs of generating funds rose by 10 per cent, the accounts show, and now cost the BHF £42.1m a year.

In his introduction to the accounts, Dr Douglas Gurr, chairman of the BHF, says the charity had an exciting year, but adds that it was a challenging year for the whole charity sector in areas such as safeguarding and data protection.

The BHF was fined £18,000 – later reduced to £14,400 – by the Information Commissioner's Office in 2016 after it was found to have contravened the Data Protection Act.

The accounts show that the charity made a number of changes to its fundraising practices since an internal audit carried out in 2016/17, including adopting a fully opt-in consent model for fundraising communications.

The charity has also made changes to its reporting on complaints and says it received 1,025 complaints about fundraising practices in the year covered by the latest accounts, down from 1,282 the year before.

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