BFC maintains charitable giving despite lower funding in latest year
The British Fashion Council has released its annual report for 2020/21 in which it shared some of the achievements of what was one of the most challenging years ever.
But it also said that it saw an almost-50% fall in revenue in the 12 months to the end of March, although it managed to donate the same amount to charity in 2020 as it did in 2019.
The body’s Chair, Stephanie Phair said: “On the topic of charitable giving, the BFC delivered positive impact this year through setting ambitious fundraising targets to support designer businesses and students through the BFC Foundation Covid Fashion Fund, raising and disbursing over £1.5 million”.
CEO Caroline Rush also said that in “a year that can be compared to no other in our lifetimes to date, we have all learned to be more resolute, agile and creative. During this time, not only has the BFC network come together, but it has grown 20%. The global positioning of London as a leader in innovation and responsible business and the role of the British fashion industry for creativity have been permanently secured”.
The organisation has made a big impact over the year with events like digital London Fashion Weeks, the first Institute of Positive Fashion Forum, its ongoing awards programmes, business support for British designers and more.
Rush added that it “used its convening power to galvanise the industry into action to support talent throughout this past year. We engaged with Government to work on the immediate challenges of the pandemic, from furlough to Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans, to gaining support for Covid-safe LFW and continue to ask for talent quarantine exemptions”.
But it has also been focused on dealing with the challenges of Brexit and the ending of the decades-long status quo as far as luxury tax-free sales in British stores are concerned.
Its lobbying around the VAT Retail Export Scheme hasn’t changed the Government’s mind so far, but its campaigning for visas for paid engagements in EU countries has had a beneficial outcome.
The BFC said its objectives for 2021/22 include a big focus on sustainability and diversity with an aim to “enable positive growth, support creative excellence and accelerate change through the Institute of Positive Fashion to meet Government targets of net zero”.
Clearly, it also hopes that its funding position will become stronger this year and a look at the figures for the last 12 months shows just how big the funding gap was. In the year ending March 31 2020 it had total income, including Government grants, of £11.869 million. In the year ending March 2021, that income was £6.168 million. That's a big drop, although careful management meant that the group still had a surplus for the financial year (of £736,000, which wasn't that far short of the £973,000 surplus of the previous year).
Government funding made up 34% of its total revenue in the latest year compared to 24% in the previous 12 months but commercial partnerships such as those with Swarovski, Clearpay and more were also crucial.
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