Philanthropy groups in London have joined in with the many foundations around the world that are taking steps to make resources and support available to those affected by COVID-19. Coordinated by London Funders, the London Community Response launched recently with a pot of over £5 million with the promise of further funding in the pipeline.
Funders have recognised that, as a result of the health crisis, civil society organisations are facing a twofold impact from a loss of income and an increased demand. In order to assist these organisations that are trying to navigate the new normal, the London Community Response is offering funding for urgent needs.
‘Voluntary and community organisations are the lifeblood of our city, providing key services to those in need across the capital, but they are struggling to stay afloat during this crisis,’ said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. ‘I’m really proud to have joined with other funders to launch the London Community Response and have pledged £1 million from City Hall to help our community and voluntary organisations continue to help the most vulnerable with food and essential goods during the challenging days and weeks ahead’
The first wave of funding will be grants of up to £5,000 for food and essentials. This is in response to funders listening to the capital’s broad and diverse civil society groups about what is immediately required on the ground to keep services going.
Following this, there will be a second wave of funding for larger grants, service transformation costs, and ongoing work to support communities. Funders are also exploring supporting some of the longer-term needs of communities and the sector affected by the crisis.
The cross-sector group of funders who have committed to contributing to the London Community Response are the Mayor of London, the City of London Corporation’s Charitable Funder – City Bridge Trust, Bloomberg, John Lyon’s Charity, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust. A broader group of funders have pledged to make grants alongside these funders.
‘I continue to urge the Government to join us and make emergency funding available for charities and community organisations so we can help those most at need during this public health crisis,’ Khan said.
The announcement from London Funders comes two weeks after the body released a joint statement pledging to offer support for civil society groups affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the statement was released, it has gathered over 250 signatories.
Update: 1 April 2020
As of 1 April, the London Community Response announced that it had raised £8 million, with a £500,000 donation from the Duke of Westminster.
‘We know how crucial it is to work together to minimise the impact of Covid-19, which is why we’re delighted to commit £500,000 to the London Community Response Fund. The Westminster Foundation is focused on providing help and direction to vulnerable young people living in Westminster. With the full support of the Duke of Westminster, we’re doing all we can to help charities maintain their vital services, especially those supporting children and families who may be struggling to access food during this very difficult time,’ said a spokesperson from the Westminster Foundation.
Other financial commitments have come from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the Clothworkers’ Foundation, the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, Islington Giving, and the London Legal Support Trust.