THE ROYAL UNITED KINGDOM BENEFICENT ASSOCIATION 210729
For over 150 years this charity and it’s forerunners have provided support for the poor and elderly. The original goal was to prevent destitution by providing those in poverty with a small, regular income for life. In 2011 they merged with two other charities, Counsel and Care and the Universal Beneficent Society to form a combined organisation under the title Independent Age.
Current service provision is clearly focused in three areas
Information and advice, Friendship services and Campaigning or Speaking up for Older people. A justifiable claim is that ‘Independent Age can provide you and your family with clear, free and impartial advice on the issues that matter: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility. ‘ On average over the last 3 years they spend £10m per annum on these activities plus fund raising and admin.
At the end of 2016 they had very strong reserves and £178,000,000 of investments in shares and property. This has been built up over many years boosted from the sale of residential property they formerly operated as residential homes. This causes a couple of concerns :
- Half a million pounds per year is spent on Investment and Property Management Costs. There may be hidden transaction costs of buying and selling about 75% of the portfolio every 12 months.
- A further concern is how money will be deployed across the mix of charitable aims between the key tangible service provision, political campaigning and awareness development.
- With this scale of reserves and investment is fund raising a necessary blessing or a curse. Current website requests for support include ‘£1,000 could help recruit and train 4 volunteers to provide friendship visits to lonely older people’