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Marriage Care sells HQ for £855,000 to balance books
12 November 2013 15:22 by Christopher Lamb

The Catholic charity offering marriage counselling has sold its headquarters and moved to new, smaller premises in a bid to balance its budget.

Catholic Marriage Care sold its three-floor property in Hammersmith, west London, for £855,000 and earlier this year moved its staff on to a single floor of smaller premises leased in nearby Fulham.

Its old headquarters, Clitherow House, had been put on the market at £830,000 but made an extra £25,000 when it was sold at the end of last year.

The decision had been taken to sell the 2,500-foot-square foot property after the board of Catholic Marriage Care anticipated a deficit in their accounts. The charity has also reduced its number of staff by four to a total of 20.

As a result of these actions, the latest accounts for the charity say that its deficit has been significantly reduced for 2013-14 and largely eliminated for the year after that.

Latest accounts show that, including the surplus of the sale of the headquarters, the charity's income rose to £1.6 million in 2012-13 from £1.2 million the year before.

A significant proportion of Catholic Marriage Care's funding comes from the Government, with a grant of more than £700,000 from the Department for Education for last year.

Mark Molden, the recently appointed chief executive, has, along with the board of the charity, devised a new strategy for Catholic Marriage Care that includes a national network of trained volunteers to give marriage preparation and relationship counselling.

The new strategy states: "Inspired by our Catholic heritage, we embrace and uphold the Christian vision of marriage as a vocation of life and love and believe that at the heart of a healthy marriage is a relationship of astonishing power and richness, for the couple, their children, their wider circle of friends and relations and society."

The charity offers marriage preparation courses in dioceses across England and Wales and has an office in Nottingham as well as that in London. Tensions have arisen with the Church as the charity has offered relationship counselling to gay couples. The president of Catholic Marriage Care is the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols.