St John Ambulance received £17m for Covid support work last year

29 Jul 2022 News

St John Ambulance’s income increased by more than £20m in 2021 as it helped to deliver the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and resumed first aid training after lockdowns the year before.

The charity’s accounts for the year to 31 December 2021 show that its overall income rebounded to £114.0m in 2021, up from £92.2m in 2020 and exceeding 2019 levels of £102.1m.

An increase in funding for its Covid-19 support work, including helping to deliver the vaccine rollout, contributed to the rise. It received £17.1m in 2021 for this work and spent £15.1m, compared to the year before when it received £4.4m and spent £10.3m.

The charity’s income for first aid training recovered to £40m after dropping to £23.4m in 2020, but it still lagged behind the £46.8m generated in 2019.

St John Ambulance received £600,000 through the government’s furlough grant scheme in 2021, compared to £4.8m the year before when it furloughed about half its workforce.

The charity employed 130 fewer full-time equivalent staff in 2021 (1,517), after reducing its headcount by just over 100 the previous year. It spent £400,000 on redundancies in 2021, compared to £3.3m in 2020.

Reserves and CEO pay

The charity’s overall level of free reserves increased to £33.8m, from £31.2m the year before.

It disposed of 13 properties last year, compared to four the year before, and generated £4.8m (2020: £1.5m) from the sale of tangible fixed assets, including £0.5m from disposal of older vehicles.

The charity plans to sell more properties in 2022 to increase its reserves and reduce ongoing expenditure.

St John Ambulance paid its chief executive Martin Houghton-Brown £163,948 in 2021, slightly less than the year before.

In an introduction to the report, co-written by Houghton-Brown and chancellor of the Priory of the Order of St John Mick Messenger, the charity said it would build on what it learnt during the pandemic regarding leadership, appetite for risk and using technology.

“We have already seen thousands of vaccination volunteers sign up for a longer and more involved relationship with St John, indicating the start of what we anticipate will be a period of rapid growth,” it said.

“All of this comes against the backdrop of our financial strategy in 2020 paying dividends in 2021 with a vastly improved picture balancing the books over the two years of the pandemic.

“We must now invest to enable us to meet the challenges of the new economic realities in which we all find ourselves.”

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