Scouts to sell two properties and make 100 redundancies

The Scouts has announced plans to sell two major assets and make about 100 people redundant as it looks to plug a more than £2m hole in its finances.

The coronavirus-related cuts will result in the loss of more than 30 per cent of the association's 380-strong workforce.

The savings are in addition to 50 redundancies announced in August, as the charity looks to reduce annual staff costs by £2.3m. Staff costs were £13.6m in 2019.

The charity will also be selling two properties: Baden-Powell House in London and the Downe Scout Activity Centre in Kent.

A spokesperson declined to speculate on the value of each property because the organisation would be looking to sell the assets in 2021 and the property market is very changeable. 

The charity said it expected the sales to take some time to complete, but they would help put the Scouts on the path to a more sustainable future.

For the financial year to March 2019, the Scouts had an income of £37m, with spending of £37.5m.

The charity said that despite using every means available during the pandemic, including the government’s furlough scheme, and a planned membership fee increase, further action was needed.

The association said it had prioritised key services for its frontline volunteers and young members, especially safeguarding, activity programming, safety and volunteer recruitment.

Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scouts, said: “These are incredibly challenging decisions for our board to have to make. The prospect of losing valued colleagues and places that matter so much to our movement is incredibly painful.”

“By taking these difficult steps we are driven by our purpose. Our priority is supporting young people at a time when they need us most, both during and after the pandemic.”

The Scouts recently launched a nationwide fundraising campaign to support more than 500 Scout groups that are in danger of closing within the next six months due to financial hardship caused by the pandemic. 

For more, read Matt Hyde’s blog for Third Sector here

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