The Lighthouse Club is one of the leading charities in the construction industry with thousands of members – but how is it funded and what does it spend its money on?
In this article, Construction Wave explores in detail the finances of the construction industry charity in Ipswich using its own accounts made up to 31 December 2022, published in May this year.
We lay out its main sources of income, costs and expenses including staff wages and salaries, who it makes investments with and how it manages loss, why it was created in the first place, and what it hopes to achieve in the future.
The Lighthouse Club was formed in 1956 as a response to construction families being “thrown into poverty” due to illness, injury or death of the breadwinner.
In 1962, the Lighthouse Club Benevolent Fund was established. Then, in 2012, the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity merged these two aspects of the business.
The charity has 21 regional clubs in the UK and Ireland run by volunteers, as well as a presence in the Asia Pacific, and Middle East regions, as well as Europe and the Americas.
It provides financial assistance, welfare and wellbeing advice, and emotional and legal support to the construction community, as well as events, initiatives and fundraising.
The charity has five main income sources – events; membership subscriptions; corporate engagement; trusts, foundations and legacies; and donated goods and services.
The charity does not receive public sector funding.
Most events are run autonomously by the regional clubs.
More than 3,000 individuals donate an annual subscription.
And, at 31 December 2022, 510 companies had pledged £807,000 in annual donations via corporate engagement campaigns (FY2021: 260 companies, £400,000).
Income grew by 62% in 2022 (FY2021: 6%), mainly through events and a “significant” increase in company supporters.
More than £2 million was made via donations and legacies (FY2021: £1.5 million).
£1.5 million came from charitable activities (FY2021: £701,861), for which it is exempt from corporation tax.
£442,508 came via its regional clubs (FY2021: £182,912).
£135,610 in grants was paid to the Lighthouse Club (FY2021: £217,781).
Operating costs grew by 59% to more than £3 million (FY2021: £1.9 million).
Fundraising costs rose to £794,190 (FY2021: £332,427), mainly due to events, a 15% increase on the target margin. “The number of events in 2022 is unlikely to be repeated as it was a catch up on cancelled events due to the pandemic,” said the charity.
Staff and office costs rose to £1.95 million, an 84% increase on FY2021 (£1.06 million). It appears this was in part due to a decision to use in-house staff to man its helpline as opposed to a third party, and in response to a “dramatic increase” in calls due to macroeconomic factors. Call volumes were 23% higher (3,421) in 2022 (FY2021: 2,788).
£754,635 went on staff wages and salaries (FY2021: £473,925).
Spending on health and safety innovation grew 350% to £267,413 (FY2021: £59,421). The charity mentions its partnership with Ford on its “Make It Visible On Site” campaign, wherein the carmaker donated two Transit vans “free of charge” for charity reps to visit 173 sites in the UK and Ireland.
£334,123 went towards a Christmas Lunch event, from which the net income was £129,139.
£254,848 went on a Boxing Night, from which the net income was £310,318.
In cash reserves, Lighthouse held £3.1 million at year end, of which £2.5 million was unrestricted ‘for investment or to create additional income’.
£1 million in cash was invested with investment firm Brewin Dolphin, which resulted in a £217,197 loss (FY2021: £70,000 gain).
£1.75 million in total had been invested with Brewin Dolphin as of the report, as is its right.
“Looking forward, the charity will be focussing on awareness and breaking down the stigma of accessing support by increasing activity through the “Make It Visible On Site” initiative,” said the charity.
“The charity will continue to build on the success of the launch of its Wellbeing Academy.
“Due to significant growth in 2022, focus in 2023 will be on the internal systems and processes that underpin the charity’s operations.”
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