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Health Board accounts reveal £300,000 drop in value of £7.7m held in investments

A health board charity’s books have revealed it holds £7.7m in investments but the value has dropped more than £300,000 compared to last year.

Betsi Cadwaldr’s charity arm Awyr Las Gogledd Cymru (Blue Sky North Wales) revealed its accounts for 2019-20 in a report to last week’s health board trustees meeting.

It revealed income had increased on the previous year by more than £600,000, of which half-a-million pounds was due to a rise in the amounts left to the charity in wills, with the rest of the extra cash coming from fundraising and investments.

Overall income was £2.63m, expenditure was £2.49m and the charity, whose trustees are Betsi’s board, lost £324,000 on its investments – meaning the charity ended the year worth £184,000 less than at April 2019.

However expenditure was 14% up (around £300,000) on the previous year because the charity handed out 29% more cash in grants (£2.2m) – but it spent less on “medical research” than in 2018-19.

Almost £1m came into the coffers from fundraising and £411,000 through “other trading activities” and £97,000 in income came from investments, according to accounts lodged with the charities commission. The charity spent £280,000 on fundraising activities last year.

Awyr Las remains in a healthy financial state with £7.6m of funds to its name, of which half are restricted and 50% unrestricted, as well as land in Porthmadog worth £130,000 which had been bequeathed to the charity.

The report said: “Restricted funds are those that have a legal restriction placed on them, such as legacies.

“These funds are further split into general funds and designated (earmarked) funds, which are identified to specific areas and/or services.”

The report added: “Many of the donations and legacies the charity receives cannot be spent immediately, as they need to be accumulated to fund the most appropriate purchases.

“These donations are therefore invested in order to generate income and protect their value in real terms.

“During 2019/20, losses on these investments totalled £0.3m compared to a gain of £0.4m in 2018/19.

“The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a significant fall in the stock market in February and March 2020, which led to a loss of £0.9m in the portfolio over the two months, outweighing the gains seen earlier in the year. All of this loss has been recovered in 2020/21.”

It had to pay £50,000 for management of its investments and the board paid £60,000 (which was reimbursed by Awyr Las) for governance of the charity.

Among the grants the charity made for equipment last year was £130,000 for an electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy (ENB), which uses GPS like
technology to create a 3D map of the lungs.

The report said it helps to get early diagnoses of lung cancer in cases which are sometimes difficult to spot.

It said: “It is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to diagnose and prepare to treat cancerous lesions using a single procedure, as quickly as possible.”

It has already been used successfully to treat the disease.

It also spent another £150,000 on hybrid theatre equipment for Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and a mobile ECG monitoring system, which measure the heart’s electrical activity.

Most of the money spent by the charity (£1.62m) went on staff and patient education and welfare support.

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