The first-aid charity St John Ambulance registered its first operating surplus in seven years as its income grew by 9 per cent last year to just short of £100m.
The charity’s annual accounts, filed with Companies House last week, show income of £99.2m in 2014, up from £91.3m the year before.
The charity spent £96.8m in 2014, which was £200,000 less than the year before, leaving net incoming resources before transfers for 2014 of £2.4m. This compares with operating deficits in each of the previous six years, ranging from £1.6m in 2008 to £9.6m in 2012.
Despite the six consecutive years of operating deficits, previous years’ annual reports show that the charity did maintain free reserves within the target range set by the trustees, and in some cases slightly larger, although total funds have fallen from £154.4m at the end of 2007 to £122.8m at the end of last year.
The charity’s income growth was generated evenly from across its different activities. Income from providing first-aid training rose from £38.8m in 2013 to £41.3m in 2014, while money earned from ambulance and transport services rose from £18.7m to £20.8m and voluntary income from £11.9m to £13.7m.
According to the accounts, the charity had 1,729 full-time equivalent staff in the year, an increase of 44 on the year before, but some way short of the 1,977 staff employed in 2011.
The accounts show that the charity’s highest earner, who is not named, received a total remuneration of between £140,001 and £150,000 a year, and 36 employees earned more than £60,001, two more than in 2013.
The directors’ report at the start of the accounts says: "The main feature of the results for 2014 was the achievement of an operating surplus – excluding gains arising from the disposal of fixed assets and gains on investment – for the first time for a number of years. This result was in line with the budget set as part of a financial strategy, which involved bringing expenditure into line with income and maintaining a broadly break-even position across future periods."
It says that about 255,000 people attended one of the charity’s first aid or health and safety courses in the year, and that the charity provided first aid care to approximately 90,000 individuals.