You can download the full version of the Born Free Foundation Trustees' Report + Audited Group Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2016 here >
It gives me great pleasure once again to introduce Born Free Foundation’s Annual Report, which sets out, for our supporters and the general public, our achievements over the last year and our future plans.
2015/6 represented another year of significant progress for the charity, following the successful completion of our merger with Care for the Wild. We raised, by some margin, record levels of revenue: our total income was £6.6 million (up 75% vs the previous year) and, whilst this performance was helped by an unusually high level of legacies (which we would not expect to be repeated in 2016/7), performance was strong across most other income lines as well.
As a result, we were able to raise our expenditure on charitable activities by nearly £500,000 (17%), across a wide range of important and exciting initiatives and programmes that are detailed later in the report. We have, for example, continued to expand our rescue operations at Ensessakoteh in Ethiopia and have completed and have opened our new visitor and education centre there; we have expanded our conservation efforts into new areas including primate projects in Guinea-Bissau; we have supported a number of high profile animal rescues, including lions from Bulgaria to Shamwari and a range of UK wildlife; we launched our ‘One Click Away’ research, in partnership with Blue Cross, highlighting the online trade in exotic pets; and we continue to play a shaping voice in the international conservation community ahead of this year’s critical CITES discussions.
The surplus of £2.1 million achieved in 2015/6 has strengthened our already healthy reserves to £7.4 million. This is about £2.0 million higher than our targeted levels and so we are actively developing plans to invest these funds in a range of specific initiatives as well as expanding our underlying programmatic activity further. The challenges faced by animals around the world are, sadly, many and acute and there is much more that we would like to do to increase our impact still further. Given our level of reserves, we will be comfortable running planned operating losses over the next three years as we invest further in key areas of charitable activity.
I should like, as ever, to thank our staff and our excellent volunteers for their outstanding dedication, effort and skill. At the end of 2015/6, we said farewell to two key members of the team. Adam Roberts stepped down from his role as CEO of Born Free Foundation to focus on his leadership of Born Free USA; his prodigious work ethic and motivating leadership made an important contribution to our development for which he deserves great thanks. Will Travers, our President, has stepped back into the CEO role on an interim basis and we have launched a formal search to recruit a new CEO. At the same time, Anne Tudor retired from her position as Marketing Director. Anne has been a pivotal part of the development of Born Free since its creation over 30 years ago; her energy and commitment have been tireless and invaluable. We wish her well for the future. Despite these departures, we are fortunate in having a skilled and experienced team; the continued success of the charity over the last year is a testament to them.
I would also like to thank our team of Trustees, along with our new secretary Kirsty Semple, for their support and counsel. Together with the management team, we look forward to continuing to drive our work in the coming year.
Chair of Trustees