Parkrun Global income down 17% during the pandemic after ‘significant hit’ to retail

09 Nov 2021 News

Parkrun Global’s income dropped by 17% during the pandemic, its latest financial accounts show.

The charity’s annual accounts for January 2020 to January 2021 were filed with Companies House last week.

The report says that retail activities took “a significant hit” after all Parkrun events were cancelled in March 2020 in response to lockdown restrictions. Events did not restart until this summer.

Parkrun Global also cut spending substantially, driven by lower expenditure related to events, enabling it to end the year with a surplus of £360,000.

The accounts show that overall staff salaries rose by 10% in 2020-21. The charity said that it had awarded pay increases in February 2020, before the Covid-19 crisis led to a fall in revenues.

Parkrun Global paid trustee and event founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt £77,650 last year for promoting its work, taking his total remuneration through the charity to nearly £300,000 in four years.

Retail, donations, sponsors

Parkrun Global’s total income fell from £5.1m in 2019-20 to £4.3m in 2020-21.

The charity “saw a significant hit to retail revenue” when it was forced to cancel hundreds of weekly running events during national and regional lockdowns, the accounts say. Retail and advertising income fell from £849,000 to £517,000.

The total value of donations made to the charity also fell, from £640,000 to £501,000.

However, the charity was able to maintain its income from corporate sponsors at around £1.7m, despite the absence of events.

Spending, events, salaries

Spending dropped substantially, from £4.5m to £3.9m (14%). The direct costs associated with delivering events were down by more than a third.

The number of staff employed at Parkrun Global has stayed the same at 24, but total staff salaries have risen 10% to £1.4m. Russ Jefferys, the charity’s head of communications, said in a statement that annual pay reviews “are determined in January and awarded for the start of the new financial year. Salaries therefore increased in February 2020 prior to the pandemic”.

The number of employees paid over £100,000 has risen from two to three, with the highest-paid member of staff now receiving between £150,000-£159,999.

Addressing the question of senior pay, the accounts state that “the last 18 months has presented a challenging period for the Parkrun executive, one which has tested their skills, mindset and passion for the organisation. Without exception, they have stepped up when most needed and guided the charity through an existential threat.

“This has clearly been noted by others outside the organisation, making our top talent targets in an employee-led market”.


Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who started the first Parkrun event in 2004 and sits on the charity’s board, received £77,654 in 2020-21 “for his daily work in promoting Parkrun within the UK and globally, and performing ad hoc services to sponsors, grant providers and the wider community as and when required”, the accounts say.

Sinton-Hewitt has now received over £290,000 through the charity. He is the only trustee entitled to receive such payments, thanks to a clause in the charity’s articles of association stating that he can be “remunerated as an employee of the company”.

Jefferys told Civil Society News that Sinton-Hewitt received the payments because he is on the payroll of Parkrun Ltd, a subsidiary wholly owned by the charity. This arrangement was approved by the Charity Commission “without any concern being raised” when the charity was registered in 2017, Jefferys said.

He added: “Paul’s position has the approval of all the trustees and has been reported every year in the annual accounts ever since. Paul carries out a number of important duties for the organisation, including keynote speeches and talks, leading international delegations, meeting with senior stakeholders, media opportunities, and regular communication with the volunteer community across the 23 countries in which we operate.

“Paul carries out his role within the parameters of a detailed job description and his performance is reviewed and managed by the CEO.”

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