Coronavirus: Funders offer £2m emergency grant scheme for London charities

An emergency fund worth an initial £2m has been set up to help charities and voluntary organisations that are affected by the coronavirus pandemic in London.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and the City Bridge Trust have each pledged £1m of funding to support civil society organisations in the capital.

The scheme will offer funding to organisations facing immediate financial pressures and uncertainty because of the Covid-19 outbreak, including increased demand for services, higher staff absences, fewer volunteers and lower donations. 

It is hoped that the fund, which is being coordinated by London Funders, a network for funders and investors in the voluntary sector in London, will be able to start taking applications next week.

The scheme is focused on organisations that support people living in London, but London Funders is working with national funders and will be sharing what it learns for how it could work outside the capital. 

A call with more than 100 funders today explored whether others could contribute towards the fund. Organisers hope the amount available will rise significantly. 

Khan also called on central government to contribute to the scheme. 

He said a new section of the City Hall website would be created to connect organisations in need of volunteers with people who are willing to help. 

“It’s vital that we unite to do what we can to support these organisations and I’m proud to be able to provide funding to help their ongoing work,” said Khan. 

“I urge other groups and central government to join this fund and hope individuals can step forward and do what they can to help others at this time.”

David Farnsworth, chief grants officer at the City Bridge Trust, said: “In this extraordinary and unprecedented week, we have been inspired by the countless stories of people going the extra mile to support those most affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

“This continued goodwill and commitment of the voluntary sector, the backbone of our communities, will be needed more than ever as the weeks unfold, and this fund will be critical in enabling the sector to continue to provide and adapt vital services for London’s communities. We encourage others to get on board.”

Full details of how to apply to the fund are expected to be published on the London Funders website next week 

The new volunteering section of the City Hall website can be found here.

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