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More charities to furlough staff to deal with lost income due to Covid-19

14 Apr 2020 News

Ronald McDonald House (RMHC), Parkinson’s UK, Breast Cancer Now, Teenage Cancer Trust and Action on Hearing Loss are the latest charities to have announced that they will be furloughing staff.

One charity, Teenage Cancer Trust, also said it had been forced to make small number of redundancies where people could not be furloughed. 

Other charities said that they would be reducing their services. 

Ronald McDonald House: Closed accommodation 

RMHC, which offers free accommodation to families with children in hospital, has closed some of its smaller houses and furloughed nearly a third of its staff due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will use the government’s Job Retention Scheme and will pay staff 100% of their salaries until the end of May, and review the situation as needed. The government scheme pays staff 80% of their salaries, up to £2,500 a month.

The charity has closed four of its 11 houses because it is becoming harder to protect people. 

The houses affected are Tooting and Moorfields (London), Arrowe Park (Wirral) and Brighton. The charity is in discussions with NHS Trusts to offer these facilities if needed.

Jon Haward, executive director of RMHC UK said: “The impact of this pandemic means we will lose around £7m, almost half our planned income this financial year.

“We have had to make some difficult decisions based on whether we can continue to operate safely on the ground, as well as stopping any non-business critical activity. This means that all our organisation functions are being impacted, while we continue to responsibly support as many families with sick children as we can.

“Our staff are our lifeblood, so making these decisions has been difficult. We are paying them their full salaries as a way to reassure them of their value to the charity, and we hope that we will be able to welcome them all back again to work very soon – and open the Houses back up again to families.”

Parkinson’s UK: ‘Our income has been hugely impacted’

Parkinson’s UK is also using the government’s Job Retention Scheme to furlough more than 100 staff. It will be topping up the 80% government contribution.

The majority of staff furloughed are in the fundraising and events teams.

Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson’s UK, said: “We see the job retention scheme as a way in which we can help secure the charity’s long term future. We didn’t feel we could ask our supporters to help us financially if we weren’t willing to take proactive steps to help ourselves. The scheme will enable us to reduce outgoings in the short term, when our income has been hugely impacted and our frontline services are experiencing their highest demand ever. 

“More importantly, it allows us to do it in a way that doesn’t negatively impact our staff or our ambitious long term plans. Our people are our best asset. They are driven every day to make life a little bit easier for the million people affected by Parkinson’s. I am proud of the way that they have quickly adapted to the new ways of working and accepted the decision to furlough 109 colleagues over a six-week period. 

“At this unsettling time, we’re reaffirming our commitment to our people, and easing any unnecessary financial pressure, by topping up the 80% government contribution to cover full salaries during this period. When our staff return, and we’re back together, we’ll be more motivated than ever to transform the experience of living with Parkinson’s.”

Parkinson’s UK has estimated that its income will fall by 40% over the next three months. It is also launching an emergency appeal and said this needs to generate £95,000 per week. 

Teenage Cancer Trust: Small number of redundancies  

Kate Collins, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust has said the charity will be placing 60% of its staff on furlough.

She said: “We have placed 60% of charity staff on furlough leave so we can protect frontline delivery to young people with cancer. We’ve also reduced the working hours and pay of the colleagues who remain and have, regrettably, made a small number of roles redundant where people could not be put on furlough leave. 

“I, along with my senior leadership team, have also taken a 25% pay reduction.”

Four roles have been made redundant, and the charity will top up the salaries of staff on furlough in April.

Breast Cancer Now: 'Extremely tough decision'  

Breast Cancer Now said it expects to see at least a 25% drop in its fundraising income for the remainder of the financial year as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and to mitigate this impact has taken the decision to place approximately 70% of its staff on furlough leave for at least three weeks.
Breast Cancer Now has chosen to top-up the grant it will receive from HMRC.
The charity will continue to operate across all UK nations with a skeleton staff of around 90 employees all working remotely while its head office in London and offices in Scotland, Wales and Sheffield remain closed in line with government guidance.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This was an extremely tough decision for us to make, particularly as it comes at a time when we, and people affected by breast cancer, need our hugely talented and passionate staff the most. But this is a necessary short-term measure to protect our income, protect jobs and to enable us to develop a longer-term response to ensure the future of our life-changing support and world-class research.”

Action on Hearing Loss: 'It was difficult for everyone'

Action on Hearing Loss is also furloughing staff and will be topping up the remaining amounts.

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