Marie Curie pulled in a record amount of income for the second year running thanks, in part, to a one-off government grant and furlough cash.
The end-of-life charity’s latest accounts, for the year to the end of March 2021, show a total income of slightly more than £170m, up about £5m on the high recorded in the previous year.
It received £5.2m from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and £21.5m in restricted grants in relation to hospices and nursing services in 2020/21.
The charity said that some fundraising activity, including an emergency appeal that raised £6m, performed better than expected.
But higher hospice and nursing services income was still offset by a decrease in fundraising and retail income of £14m.
The charity employs more than 2,000 nurses and healthcare assistants and operates nine hospices around the UK.
National lockdowns and restrictions on retail and the closure of its 136 shops contributed to a 69 per cent drop in retail income to £5.2m.
A total of 18 stores were not reopened after lockdown, which resulted in £1m of incurred costs.
Total spending fell year on year to £145m leading to surplus of £28m, which the charity said is being invested in an Innovation fund to help it reach more people.
Staff costs for the charity’s 3,883 employees was just under £100m, with a headcount reduction of 350 staff on the previous year.
The charity said its shop closures and the reduced workforce were part of a planned strategic restructure and not related to the pandemic.
The accounts show that recruitment was frozen for non-business-critical roles and its fundraising activities were streamlined to help reduce operating costs.
The charity would not say many people were made redundant, but termination payments rose slightly from 2019/20 to £700,000.
A spokesperson for Marie Curie said: “The pandemic is not over and the additional costs of operating to ensure we keep our beneficiaries and staff safe continues, as does an element of uncertainty around income.
“Over the last financial year we must pay tribute to the people with terminal illness, and their loved ones, that we have cared for who have adapted so well to the challenges they faced, and to our donors and corporate partners whose generosity has helped the charity navigate the pandemic and provide more care to dying people than ever before.
“We are also immensely grateful to everyone in the Marie Curie family – staff and volunteers – who have shown unflinching commitment and passion for our cause in such a difficult time.
“Thanks to our supporters, and the grants for the hospice sector from the UK government, we were able to invest in a new Innovation and Impact Fund – a designated reserve to meet the changing needs of people at the end of life and support for bereaved people.”
The charity said it was expecting another challenging year due to the uncertainty of operating during the pandemic.
At the end of last year, sister retailers Superdrug and Savers revealed they had raised £9m for Marie Curie over the past eight years.