‘Difficult decision’ as equine welfare charity jobs at risk amid £2.5m deficit

  • Bransby Horses has announced that 17 of its employees are at risk of redundancy – as the welfare charity aims to address a forecasted £2.5m deficit.

    Today (21 June) Bransby said the “extremely difficult decision” to put the jobs at risk follows a “comprehensive strategic review aimed at addressing an unsustainable £2.5m deficit forecasted for this year – the largest in its history.” The charity employs 170 people and is home to 299 equines.

    “We have a wonderful, talented and dedicated team of people at Bransby Horses, and we’re devastated that despite our best efforts, the financial challenges we face leave us with no other option but to restructure our operations,” said Bransby chief executive Jo Snell.

    The affected roles are in senior leadership and the equine welfare and support service teams, and all proposals are subject to a “full and thorough” 30-day consultation process, starting next week.

    “Like so many other charities, Bransby Horses has faced exponential rises in running costs due to various external factors, including soaring food and energy prices and increasing rates of pay in the employment market – with the cost of delivering its welfare and estates work rising by over 50% since 2018,” said a Bransby spokesperson.

    “At the same time, its fundraising income has plateaued because of economic challenges, with uncertainty around legacy income – which accounts for 65% of the charity’s total income – due to the slowing housing market. The combination of these factors has led to a growing mismatch between the charity’s income and expenditure.”

    The spokesperson added that Bransby started work to “address this mismatch” several years ago and introduced a variety of cost-cutting measures, including initiatives to reduce facility costs, lower energy and water consumption, and freeze recruitment.

    “While these measures delivered £450,000 in savings over an 18-month period, it was clear that more action was required to address the ever-widening gap between the charity’s income and expenditure,” he said.

    “In November 2023 it began an extensive review of its operational model at every level across its two Lincolnshire sites at Bransby and Barlings, to identify how it could still deliver on its mission to transform the lives of equines, while significantly reducing costs to secure its long-term future.”

    Following this review and a “comprehensive assessment of several possible operating models” the charity has taken the decision to adapt its model in a number of areas to ensure it is “able to continue to deliver on its charitable purpose in a more consolidated, efficient, and financially sustainable form”.

    Jo Snell added that Bransby recognises “just how hard this decision will be on those directly and indirectly impacted” and the charity is “fully committed to supporting everyone affected”.

    “This includes working closely with impacted employees to look for every opportunity to mitigate job losses and, where this is not possible, supporting employees in finding new employment,” she said.

    “While this is distressing news for everyone at Bransby Horses, we believe our new operating model will enable us to continue to deliver on every aspect of our work to improve the lives of equines, albeit at a slightly reduced scale, while significantly easing the financial pressures we’re currently facing to protect the charity’s long-term future.”

    The spokesperson said Bransby is reviewing all its assets and facilities to identify any further cost reduction and income generation opportunities, and the charity expects this review to be completed by the end of the year. The Bransby visitor centre will remain open.

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