The numbers: Big Brum

Birmingham-based charity Big Brum runs educational theatre programmes for children and young people.

Total income: £226,000 for the year ending 31 March 2006, compared with £184,000 for the year before.

Highest salary: No employee earned more than £50,000.

Reserves policy: The income and spending of the charity vary according to the amount of grants and other income it secures. Big Brum keeps reserves to provide for an orderly wind-down in the event of an unexpected reduction in income. Occasionally, it also has to absorb the costs of developing and researching work before the grants awarded are actually paid, so reserves are needed for cash-flow reasons. At the year-end, unrestricted reserves were £37,000, equivalent to about nine weeks' of spending, which the charity regards as sufficient.

Fundraising costs: It spent £3,000 on fundraising, and voluntary income was £84,000, producing a fundraising ratio of 4p in the pound.

Pension: The charity is in the Performing Arts Stakeholder Pension Scheme.

How performance is communicated: In the 'about us' section of Big Brum's website ( there is a clear description of the charity's work. It could, perhaps, be communicated more succinctly. The trustees' report and accounts and an online newsletter have information about activities, but there is not much on the impact the charity is making or the ways in which it provides funders with value for money. The charity says it is restructuring its website to include evaluation reports and other performance-related information.

The charity says: "We have worked hard to maintain a stable financial position, successfully building on our core and regular funding support and securing new sources of funds for specific projects and resources. In the future, we want to lift the company's finances further in order to meet expanding demand for our work."


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