Income at children’s charity fell by almost a quarter after ‘brutal’ government cuts

Income at World Vision UK fell by almost a quarter last year, mainly due to “brutal” cuts in funding from the government, the charity has said.

The international children’s charity’s accounts, for the year to the end of September, show that income fell from £69.6m in 2019/20 to £52.8m in 2020/21.

This included a fall in the value of UK government funding of more than 50 per cent, from £16.7m to £8.2m, the accounts show.

The accounts cover the period when the government announced plans to cut total aid spending by £4bn and close the Department for International Development.

World Vision UK recorded a deficit of £2.8m after spending £55.9m, down from £67.2m the year before.

Writing in the report, Mark Sheard, chief executive of World Vision UK, described the government cuts as “brutal”.

The charity also sacked three contractors over safeguarding concerns during the year.

World Vision told Third Sector it upheld 18 safeguarding complaints in total in the year to September 2021.

It took disciplinary action in eight cases, each of which related to contractors working overseas.

World Vision UK’s most recent annual accounts show it investigated 71 safeguarding concerns during 2020/21, the first year the charity has published this data. A spokesperson said that in 2019/20 the number was 73.

The annual report says: “World Vision ensured that appropriate psychosocial and medical support was provided to survivors. World Vision also implemented preventative actions, including disciplinary action undertaken, and providing advocacy and awareness training on our code of conduct.”

The charity referred five of these cases to the Charity Commission, which decided no further action was necessary.

The monthly average number of staff at World Vision UK fell slightly, from 256 to 239, mainly as a result of falling numbers working on fundraising and supporter communication.

The charity’s reserves stood at £16m, three times the minimum amount required under its reserves policy.

Sheard used the annual report to thank his staff for their “dedication” during the past 12 months, acknowledging that “many have juggled the multiple demands of home-schooling, family members sick with Covid-19 and working at home isolated from colleagues”.

He said: “I am confident that we are well placed to weather the current storms and emerge stronger – ready to bring the hope of a better future to even more children.”

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