Welwyn Garden City hospice faces up to funding shortfall

A HOSPICE is having to plug a funding shortfall of �300,000 – despite income being UP by six per cent this year.

The bleak picture many charities across the country are facing in the aftermath of the recession was painted at Isabel Hospice’s AGM.

Director of finance Nigel Furlong outlined that despite funds increasing to more than �4m this year, this was not enough to cover the increased costs of nearly �4.5m.

Steps have been taken to address this though, and he said he was confident the WGC-based hospice should be “close” to breaking even by the end of the current financial year.

He told the meeting: “Like many charities, the recession has hit us late, and so we are late recovering from its effects.

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“We do recognise that our supporters are also coping with the effects of the recession on personal and business budgets.

“We are therefore doubly grateful for their ongoing support without which we simply could not survive.”

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Mr Furlong said 80 per cent of the hospice’s cost base was salary related – and one of the measures being taken this year was a pay freeze.

“Our staff and our volunteers are at the heart of everything we do and therefore we are looking at reducing our costs in non-staff areas including telecoms and maintenance contracts.

“However, we have restricted salary costs by not awarding staff a cost of living rise this year.”

He added: “On the income side, our fundraising and trading teams are working exceptionally hard, and provided current trends continue, the good news is we should be close to breaking even at the year end.”

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