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Oxfam shrugs off the gloom with a record income

Poverty charity Oxfam achieved record income figures last year despite the downturn in the third sector, which has left many charities struggling for donations.

The latest UK Giving Report published by the Charities Aid Foundation showed a 4.3 per cent drop in aggregate donations to large charities.

But Oxfam's annual report, published today, reveals that income from shops and fundraising increased by £18m to £385.5m in the year to the end of March.

Shop income increased 5 per cent to £89.9m, while fundraising income, including donations from supporters, the public and institutions, climbed 8 per cent to £282.8m. Meanwhile Oxfam's new website, launched during the year, helped income from online sales soar 24 per cent.

The charity, which celebrates its 70th birthday in October, mounted several major campaigns during the year including GROW, launched in June 2011, aimed at improving the global food system.

Last July, it held one of its biggest-ever appeals in response to the East African food crisis, which affected 12m people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam, said: "The British have continued to donate to Oxfam when facing many financial challenges closer to home.

"They are still moved by the needs of the people we are trying to support – so we see big responses from the public around emergencies such as the food crisis in East Africa last summer."

However, in a sign of the troubled economic times, regular donations, which are a key source of income for the charity, fell slightly.

"People feel nervous about committing to give money on a regular basis," Ms Stocking said.

Oxfam aid reached more than 15 million people in 55 countries, and the charity supported some 27 humanitarian crises last year.