Guide Dogs UK plans 160 redundancies after costs ‘rise considerably’

01 May 2024 News

Guide Dogs UK

Guide Dogs UK is planning to make 160 redundancies, around 9% of its workforce, due to increases in its running costs. 

The charity said it is addressing a drop in fundraising income through its “change programme” and that it would consult staff before enacting the planned changes.

Guide Dogs chief executive Andrew Lennox said that the charity was operating in an “extremely difficult climate” and that its costs had increased significantly over the past few years. 

Lennox warned that if the charity did not make the planned changes by 2026, it would face a £20m gap between its income and expenditure.

It comes after Guide Dogs UK reported an 18% rise in staff costs in its latest financial year, while its income from donations and legacies fell by over £10m to £131m.

‘Fundraising income has plateaued’

Guide Dogs UK also said it is planning to close its My Sighted Guide service by the end of the year. 

Created in 2011, the service pairs sighted volunteers with people experiencing sight loss. Guide Dogs UK said it will be replacing the service with a new community model. 

The charity said it had found it “increasingly difficult” to deliver the service in a “fair and consistent way”.

Lennox said: “Like many other charities across the UK, we are operating in an extremely difficult climate with a high demand for our services.
“Our fixed costs have increased considerably over the past few years and our fundraising income has plateaued due to the external economic challenges.

“Reducing the wait for a guide dog will continue to be an organisational priority, along with increasing the number of partnerships we produce. 
“Our change programme will enable us to increase our income, make cost savings and ensure we’re structured to be able to support and deliver exceptional outcomes for those living with sight loss for the next 90 years and beyond.”   

Staff costs account for half of expenditure

The number of full-time staff at the charity rose by 9% from 2021 to 2022 to 1,590 with particular investment in its provision of adult and children’s services. 

For the year ending December 2022, the charity spent £69.9m on staff costs, accounting for 54% of its expenditure for the year. 

In 2022, its overall income fell by £11m to £142m, largely due to the charity receiving a £16m legacy the year before. 

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