Clever cash move

SHREWD financial management by the Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends has saved vital investments from being swallowed up by the banking crisis and can now be used to help patients.

SHREWD financial management by the Budleigh Salterton Hospital League of Friends has saved vital investments from being swallowed up by the banking crisis - and can now be used to help patients.Last year, donations to the League totalled �56,016, with reported income �81,797: the main sources were bequeathed money, �2,356 from their summer fete and �1,231 from the pre-Christmas coffee morning last November.However, a lot of the money also comes from interest on investments - and, in August, the League moved them from a building society account and bought Government gilts.This is effectively buying a 'piece' of the Government in exchange for repayment with interest.In what looks like an increasingly prescient move, it was another month before Gordon Brown used the term 'recession' and three months before interest rates were cut to three per cent last November.And rates were slashed again to two per cent in December, to 1.5 percent in January and now to their lowest rates ever at 0.5 per cent.Norman Hawkins of the League said they saw which way the wind was blowing and made the switch on financial advice.He said: "We were growing uneasy with having our investments in an established building society account."Unfortunately, we were facing getting a lower income return from our investments than previous years when interest rates were as high as four to five per cent. These gilts will give us a higher income and a chance of capital growth."Chairman Dr David Evans has issued a financial report of the League's activities prior to next month's annual meeting - and highlighted an accrual of �52,016 for the refurbishment of Nuttall and Jubilee Wards, which is well underway. Mr Hawkins said: "The result will be two attractive single-bedded wards with en-suite facilities suitable for patients receiving palliative care, or needing isolation."The AGM of the League of Friends of The Budleigh Salterton Hospital will be held at Budleigh Salterton Football Club on May 14, at 2.30pm. The guest speaker is Mrs Pippa Bird, Matron at Budleigh Hospital, and her subject is Our Community Hospital.


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