Voluntary income of Help for Heroes fell by nearly a fifth in last financial year

The fall in income is the first for the armed forces charity since it was founded in 2007

Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes

The voluntary income of the armed forces charity Help for Heroes fell by 19 per cent in the year to September 2012, according to accounts filed with Companies House last month.

The charity’s voluntary income dropped to £32.6m in the year, down from £38.8m in the previous year.

Overall, its income fell by 13 per cent to £40.6m, down from £46.6m in the previous year.

This was the first fall in the charity’s income since it was founded in 2007. The charity's income in its first year was £14.6m.

The charity spent £35.4m in the year, including £3.2m on grants, with the rest going toward its recovery centres for injured servicemen and women. It has a fundraising ratio of 8 per cent, according to the report.

Jonathan Ballin, the charity's chief financial officer, said: "2011 was a huge year for Help for Heroes and it was always expected that in 2012 there would be a tailing off in voluntary income. Of particular note is the continued growth of legacy income at more than £3m, up from £2.1m in 2011.

"Our focus, as always, is on ensuring we are as efficient as possible. It costs Help for Heroes only 8p to raise every £1 of voluntary income, which we believe compares very favourably to other charities.

"Income from our trading subsidiaries has remained stable despite tough trading conditions. And a fall in the cost of trading activities allowed an increased net income of £1.2m to be gifted to the charity." 

In the charity’s annual report, Bryn Parry, its chief executive, says that in 2012/13 the charity moved from being a fundraising and grant-giving organisation to a delivery charity.

"We are unlikely to have to fund any more major capital projects, but we will need to fund those that we have in place for decades to come," he says in the report. "We will need to look to the more traditional methods of fundraising, drawing more support from legacies, high net worth benefactors and corporate partners as well as voluntary donations.

"Our fundraising techniques will change to meet this challenge. The days of money flooding in are probably over, but the need for funding continues and so we need to go looking for it."

There was an increase in the number of corporate partnerships, the charity's annual report says. It now has 450 charity of the year partnerships, an increase of 40 per cent year on year. The report says there was "similar growth" in commercial partnerships in which products are sold with a specified donation passing to the charity.

Help for Heroes received more than £600,000 in donations in May this year after the murder of a serving soldier in London. The charity was inundated with calls, donations and requests for merchandise after Drummer Lee Rigby was attacked and killed in Woolwich while wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt.

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