Funders take action to support the sector through and beyond covid-19

With lockdowns and restrictions across the UK, 100 funders have come together to sign a renewed “We Still Stand With the Sector” statement, and have promised to stand together with civil society “now, and always”.

Through the difficult months ahead, they have committed to listen to the needs of communities and civil society, to be flexible with their existing funding, and to be open with how learning from responding to the crisis will inform their work for the long-term.

The funder commitment follows the “We Stand With The Sector” statement that over 400 funders signed in March, and has again been coordinated by London Funders, the membership organisation for funders of London’s civil society.  Recognising the importance of these pledges to groups across the UK, the statement and list of signatories is hosted independently at www.covid19funders.org.uk.

Signatories so far include the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, Allen and Overy, and the Greater London Authority (GLA), with more funders expected to join the list in the coming days. 

Alongside renewing the statement, London Funders is working with the collaboration of 65 funders behind the London Community Response to launch a new wave of funding to support groups navigating the lockdown – recognising the continued needs of the sector and the capital’s communities through the winter months ahead. 

Reflecting on the statement, the new wave of funding, and the sector’s current operating environment. David Farnsworth (Chair, London Funders, and Chief Grants Officer, City Bridge Trust) said:

“Although things remain uncertain, it is our job as funders to remain hopeful and ambitious about the future, whilst being mindful of how the past has shaped us. As we navigate many unknowns, we do so with a strong track record of collaboration, and a shared commitment to strengthening civil society, knowing that by working together we can help communities to thrive beyond covid-19.”

London Funders has heard loudly and clearly from civil society groups that they are concerned about the months ahead. 65% of the capital’s poverty charities have reported an increase in the number of people seeking support in the past two weeks, and 57% of organisations have not been able to meet demand in the past six months.

This new wave of funding will build on the £42m that has already been distributed to London’s civil society organisations through the collaboration.  Funding has been awarded to organisations in all 33 boroughs, with a strong emphasis on supporting organisations led by communities most affected by the pandemic.  In the most recent wave of funding, over 70% grants were given to groups led by people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities, Deaf and Disabled people, women, and LGBT+ communities.

Explaining why the GLA is involved in the collaboration, London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has shone a spotlight on the stark inequalities that persist in our society, as well as reminding us of the everyday heroes who keep our communities going.

“The London Community Response has helped to provide millions of pounds in emergency support to civil society organisations representing a diverse range of groups during these incredibly challenging times, and we’ve been proud to support them.

“With the devastating impact of Covid-19 still being keenly felt, we will continue to do all we can to support a sector whose tireless efforts are needed more than ever.”

 More information on the London Community Response, including the next wave of funding, will be available on londoncommunityresponsefund.org.uk in the coming days.