Mencap has posted a record income, surpassing £200m for the second time after several years of lower turnover.
According to the charity’s accounts running to March, the charity recorded an income of £203.7m in 2017/18, up from £191.9m the previous year.
A Mencap spokeswoman said this rise was due to an increase in legacies and local authority contracts
Its previous record income was £201.2m, back in 2013/14. Since then it has consistently had a turnover of around £191m.
Plans to spend more
Mencap holds £21.9m of free reserves, which greatly exceed its target level of £13.1m.
In its previous year’s accounts, Mencap said it was “delaying commitment to utilise the remaining free reserves” because it had faced a potential £20m back-pay liability to sleep-in shift workers.
However, a Court of Appeal ruling last month in favour of Mencap means the charity will now plan to “utilise free reserves more extensively in accordance with the needs of the charity”.
But it says: “Current commitments for 2018/19 reflect the uncertainty prior to the recent judgment, and future investments will still receive the same level of budgetary scrutiny prior to approval.”
Growing retail operation
Mencap’s previous accounts said it would invest these extra reserves into its retail operation, but there is not clarification in its latest report.
It has opened 35 stores to date, opening 24 of these in 2017/18, with its retail operation making a deficit in that year due to “initial investment and store-opening costs”.
“We are currently consolidating this with the support of our retail advisory group, which comprises a number of external experts from the retail sector,” its accounts say.
The charity has previously said it planned to open a chain of 100 stores within five years but a spokeswoman for the charity said it is now "analysing the results" before continuing with the rollout.
She said: "We have seen real benefits from phase one in terms of work, volunteering and contact opportunities for people with learning disabilities."