Save the Children UK income fell by £18m last year

Income at Save the Children UK dropped by £18m last year, latest figures show.

The charity’s annual report, published today, says that its income was £288.7m in 2020, down from £307.4m in the previous year. 

Save the Children said the main reasons for the fall were shop closures and the cancellation of fundraising events as a result of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. 

The accounts show the charity lost £6.5m when its shops shut – about half of what they raised in the previous year. 

It also missed out on £2.4m from special events that had to be cancelled and £700,000 in community fundraising. 

The report shows that income from government and multilateral organisations was down from £163.9m in 2019 to £141.6m last year, including a £6m drop in funds from the UK government to £62.9m. 

In response to falling income, spending was “substantially reduced”, according to the report. Total expenditure fell £26m year on year to £238m.

This included cutting spending on fundraising and advocacy, spending £4m less on advocacy and awareness in 2020 than 2019, when it spent £13m. 

It also implemented spending and recruitment freezes across the organisation and put 250 staff on furlough. 

The average full-time equivalent headcount across the organisation fell from 1,036 in 2019 to 902 in 2020. 

This was primarily due to a restructure in its UK programmes work, the charity said, as well as the recruitment freeze. 

The charity’s senior executives took a voluntary pay cut of 10 per cent from May to December. 

Over the pandemic, the charity spent £252m on charitable activities overall, with the biggest spend on emergencies, followed by education and health.

The charity's Donation Acceptance Committee, which considers potentially high-risk donations, turned down six of 53 gifts that were referred to it in 2020, the accounts show. 

The reasons for doing so included concerns over the nutritional value of products, the document says. The individuals or organisations that attempted to make the rejected donations are not named. 

In 2020, 182 safeguarding concerns were reported to the charity, of which seven related to the conduct of staff. 

Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK, said: “At a time of rising child poverty, worsening malnutrition and increased stress on health systems during the pandemic, our work is more vital than ever.

“It’s a credit to our staff that we’ve helped millions of children to survive, learn and thrive, despite the financial constraints.”

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