£12m cash boost for ‘game-changing’ coronavirus fund


A fund which helps charities cope with the impact of coronavirus has received a £12 million cash boost – as one organisation to benefit hailed the ‘game-changing’ support it offers.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, has pledged £5 million to the London Community Response Fund (LCRF), which is helping organisations keep providing vital services through the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the fund, which has helped almost 1,000 organisations across the capital since being set up by City Bridge Trust in March, has been awarded a further £7 million from The National Lottery Community Fund – the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

It brings the total pledged to the LCRF to over £25 million, including £11 million from City Bridge Trust, £5 million from the Mayor of London and donations from 15 other funders and companies.

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “The LCRF has already played a hugely important role in helping London’s charities and voluntary organisations across the capital which are doing critical work on the coronavirus frontline to cope with the impact of the pandemic.

“The new funding we’ve committed and the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, means the LCRF can support more organisations and help more vulnerable people right across the capital.”

The London Community Response Fund forms part of the wider London Community Response, co-ordinated by membership network London Funders, which has brought together over 60 funders committed to distributing over £40 million together since it was set up at the start of the pandemic.

Elly De Decker, director of England funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “This additional funding for the LCRF will extend the reach of National Lottery grants at a time when communities need it most.

“City Bridge Trust and London Funders have done a brilliant job in co-ordinating the funder community to provide London’s civil society with much-needed funding to support vital projects responding to the needs of the capital’s communities.

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“We thank them for working with us so closely to make sure the funding raised by National Lottery players can support the emergency response in the capital most effectively.”

One of the organisations which has benefitted from LCRF funding is Rushey Green Time Bank, based in Lewisham High Street, which matches volunteers with time and skills to offer the community with others who can help them.

During the pandemic, it has run the borough’s Covid-19 Lewisham Local response hub in partnership with three other charities, delivering 10,000 food parcels and offering telephone befriending, practical help, information and guidance.

The grant of £73,352 it received enabled it and its partner charities – Voluntary Services Lewisham, Age UK Lewisham and Southwark, Lewisham Foodbank – to increase staffing and premises capacity and improve internal systems and infrastructure, to ensure they could meet surging demand for their services.

Phillipe Granger, Rushey Green Time Bank chief executive, said: “When the pandemic began, we very quickly had to adapt our services to ensure we could help those in need, and it’s been an incredible experience working so closely with other organisations and benefitting from the unique expertise each has to offer.

“The London Community Response Fund grant was a game-changer and was vital to ensure the hub could continue with the confidence it could meet demand.

“We’re so grateful for the simple and easy way organisations like ours are quickly able to access the funds we need to make a difference on the ground.”

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