London, 28th May - Shop closures and cancelled fundraising events during the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to an £18 million fall in Save the Children UK’s income last year, its annual report has disclosed.
The report, published today, shows the charity lost £6.5m when its 120 shops were shut, £2.4m from special events that could not be held and a further £700,000 in community fundraising.
In total, Save the Children UK raised £289m last year, compared with £307m in 2019. However, cuts of £20 million more than made up for the losses as it invested less in fundraising and froze recruitment and external spending.
Kevin Watkins, the chief executive, 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.’
The charity’s senior executives took a voluntary pay cut of 10% from May to December in recognition of the financial challenges.
Watkins, whose usual salary of £143,000 put Save the Children UK 93rd in a recent Third Sector table of top charity payers, saw his remuneration reduced to the equivalent of £128,700.
The annual report also reveals that Save the Children’s median gender pay gap was 5.6%, slightly up on the previous year but significantly less than the national and big charity averages of more than 15%. Its ‘ethnicity pay gap’, published for the first time, was 2.1%, compared with 3.8% nationally.
Despite the pandemic, the charity was able to spend £252m on charitable activities, with the biggest outlay on emergencies, followed by education and health.
Save the Children responded to 136 humanitarian emergencies in 77 countries. Its Emergency Health Unit built a Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and it supported 58 health facilities affected by conflict in Yemen. It expanded nutrition programmes in the Horn of Africa and worked with governments there to deliver distance learning in areas of greatest need.
In the UK, it campaigned vigorously against child poverty and supplied the families of 10,000 children with food vouchers, early learning materials and educational toys under an emergency grants programme.
HRH The Princess Royal, patron of Save the Children UK, said: ‘The lives of today’s children will be deeply marked by the turmoil and long-term damage the pandemic has caused, and sadly the crisis is not over yet.
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