Covid Anniversary: Over £57m distributed by the London Community Response

A year ago 67 funders came together for the first time to collaborate in their response to covid-19. One year on, over £57m has been given out in grants through the London Community Response - a ground-breaking funder collaboration - with investment moving from crisis response to building towards the recovery and renewal of civil society.

Almost 3,300 grants have been distributed to organisations in every London borough. Groups have used London Community Response funding for essential work during the crisis such as supplying emergency food packages, adapting advice services and ensuring that rough sleepers were kept safe.

Funders have recognised that the social, economic and health consequences of covid-19 have disproportionately impacted those already-marginalised in society. To ensure that funding was getting to those who needed it most, the collaboration gave grants to six equality-led organisations for outreach work and engagement. This has been a resounding success, and in the most recent wave of funding, over 85% of the grants given were awarded to BAME, LGBT+, Deaf and Disabled or women-led organisations.

Reflecting on how the London Community Response worked, Paul Roberts (Chief Executive, LGBT+ Consortium) said:

“There is always opportunity amongst the most difficult of challenges, and the pandemic has pushed that to its absolute limits. The London Community Response has been a programme that shows how bringing together a diversity of skills, knowledge and focus can affect real change, and at a time when it is most needed. Consortium has been proud to be part of a process where under-funded and under-resourced diverse LGBT+ organisations are given support to ensure they have access to funding across London. As we continue to work with funders and our equity partners alike, the potential for further change is palpably exciting.”

The latest wave of funding has seen a shift from crisis to recovery. The London Community Response funders have given grants aligned to the ambitions of the London Recovery Board, focusing on delivering a new deal for young people affected by the pandemic, tackling the underlying causes of poverty, and building resilient communities. Over £11m has been given since January alone to organisations that are working to achieve these goals.

Overall The London Community Foundation has committed nearly £13m to civil society organisations through the London Community Response – and this figure is still rising. Kate Markey (Chief Executive, London Community Foundation) said about the collaboration:

“Looking back to March 2020, we all faced such incredible uncertainty. Yet as a funder, The London Community Foundation was clear that collaboration was essential to ensure we could reach the most vulnerable people across London. It has been both affirming and inspiring to work alongside fellow London Community Response funders, the donors who gave so generously and the grassroots organisations that demonstrated just how vital they are to our communities.”

One of the organisations funded by the London Community Foundation through the London Community Response is Autism Voice, a BAME-led group working in South London. They received £10,701 to support 15 young people with autism and/or learning disability (age 16-35) into jobs or training courses that match their interests and will help them secure independent living.

Commenting on receiving funding from the London Community Response, Mariama Korrca Kandeh (Executive Director, Autism Voice) said:

“This award is an important step in ensuring adults with autism and/or learning disabilities are able to achieve independent living and make meaningful contribution to community and society. As an organisation, we are committed to making sure autistic people are supported by working with and for them.”

All funding decisions can be found on the London Community Response website, and the collaborating funders are committed to supporting the capital’s communities in the months and years to come. London Funders have also shared learning across the UK and internationally, and will shortly publish reports from independent learning partners that have tracked the impact of this unprecedented funder collaboration.

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