Leonard Cheshire has invested an extra £7m in its frontline staff in the UK, lifting the lowest paid ‘well above’ the national minimum wage (NMW).
The charity, which supports disabled people, said agency costs had dropped by 5% during the year ended 31 March 2018, as it invested in paying workers more than the NMW. In 2017/18, the minimum wage was £7.50 per hour for people aged 25 and over. This rose to £7.83 in April.
Its latest annual report said: ‘In recognition of the outstanding commitment of our staff we have invested £7m to lift the lowest paid well above the national living wage. We have also increased investment in learning and development to ensure we attract, develop and retain great people doing great work.’
As of the end of March, Leonard Cheshire operated 154 services across the UK.
During the reporting period it transferred some of its care at home services on the Isle of Wight, Kent, Sheffield and Derbyshire. The financial report said: ‘These services did not align with our strategy to support greater access to communities for people with disabilities and were transferred to other providers with the capacity and expertise to deliver a strong ongoing service.’
Occupancy rates across its residential services was 94%.
The charity continued to try and get more disabled people on the career ladder. Its Change100 programme, which brings together employers and disabled students and graduates to offer three months of paid work experience, grew to 70 organisations. They took on 123 people.
Total income at the charity grew to £175.9m (2017: £161.3m) during the period, while expenditure rose to £171.5m, up from £160.6m in 2017. Once gains and losses were taken into account, net income was £4.6m (2017: £5.4m).
The charity provides support in residential settings to 3,500 people and supports 6,500 young people with skills, confidence and employment programmes in the UK. Internationally, it delivers education, youth leadership and access to livelihoods programmes to 20,000 people.