Scope's income falls after sale of headquarters in the previous year

Total income at the disability equality charity Scope fell by more than £13m last year after the multimillion-pound sale of its former London headquarters in the previous 12 months.

The charity’s accounts for the year to the end of March 2020 show income fell to £41m from £54m in the previous year, leaving the charity with a deficit of about £4m.

Income from donations and legacies dropped by slightly more than £1m to £14.6m.

But most of the reduction in income was due to the sale of its former head office in north London, which brought in £9.4m. Scope moved to new office space in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London in 2018

Last year, the charity recorded a £40m drop in income year on year after it decided to sell its regulated and day services as part of a strategy to focus on its campaigning work.

The 2019/20 accounts show that total expenditure at the charity fell by about £8m year on year to £45m.

At the same time its total payroll and staff-related costs fell by more than £1m to £22.4m, as employee numbers were reduced from 949 to 852.

Sales from trading activity, including shops and Gift Aid commission, was £21.2m, a £1.6m reduction on the previous year, as it ended the financial year with all of its 207 shops closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The charity said it planned to expand its ecommerce offering this year, having run a pilot operation last year that targeted weekly income growth of between £2,000 and £5,000.

The report says the charity remains financially secure despite the coronavirus crisis, although it acknowledges the charity faces a significant challenge to grow to support the demands disabled people will face over the next few years.

Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: “In recent years we’ve transformed from an organisation that ran statutory services to one that is committed to delivering everyday equality for disabled people and their families. 

“This transition has included a significant period of organisational restructuring, strategic investment and diversification of income streams, the cost of which is being financed from reserves to enable our full range of services to disabled people to continue during the period of change.

“We have reserves which will enable us to complete this transition over the next few years.

“We are diversifying our fundraising income, trialling new products and services for disabled people and their families and invested in our digital infrastructure – which has been instrumental in keeping vital services open during the pandemic.”

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