Catherine McGuinness reflects on the City Bridge Trust’s charitable work

Catherine McGuinness

2018 has been a very exciting year for us in terms of charitable work supporting residents across the City – we have launched several new initiatives while current projects continue to flourish.

Over the past year, residents, communities and workers across the Square Mile have seen unfaltering support from the City Corporation’s charitable funding pots.

We have worked hard to ensure charitable organisations have the resources that they need to reach the most vulnerable people in the City.

It has been a big year for our charitable funder, City Bridge Trust (CBT), whose primary aim is to make London a city where all people and communities can thrive, especially those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.

The City Corporation is fortunate to be the trustee of significant charitable funds, and we make sure we use these towards London’s needs, and work in collaboration with other funders.

CBT’s funding programmes are updated every five years to meet the changing needs of Londoners – including City residents.

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Thames21 works at cleaning up the Thames River and its bank

The ‘Investing in Londoners’ programme, which ran since 2013, ended earlier this year. Over the five years it gave over 700 grants totalling more than £60million for work tackling inequality across every London Borough.

The programme helped 18 charities based in the City, giving £2.2m in funding, including support for Homeless Link, Blind in Business, and Thames21.

Homeless Link, based in the heart of the Square Mile, works with homelessness organisations to improve the way they work with rough sleepers.

We awarded the charity £148,100 to work with other smaller homelessness charities to improve the collection and sharing of data on rough sleeping to provide more effective and efficient services.

Blind in Business, based on London Wall, received £98,700 towards its work helping young blind or visually impaired people to find their first job, and support employers through specialist training and support.

Environmental charity Thames21, on Upper Thames Street, aims to provide clean, healthy and sustainable rivers which are at the heart of community life in neighbourhoods across London. It received £108,000 towards the costs of a scheme developing and supporting local volunteers to improve the Thames and London’s waterways.

CBT’s new five-year charity funding programme, called Bridging Divides, was launched in April this year.

Our philanthropic activity for the year does not stop there. The City Corporation’s Central Grants fund, which supports community, cultural, environmental, educational and employment projects across London, has been very busy, awarding 36 grants totalling £387,000 to City organisations.

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Companies like Vision Care have been helping visually impaired homeless people by giving them new glasses

The London Euphonia Orchestra (LEO) received £5,000 of funding to hold a series of concerts in the City over the next year as part of a community orchestra involving young musicians from different backgrounds. LEO is made up of amateur musicians mostly working within the Square Mile.

The lives of thousands of Londoners have changed this year through the work of many amazing charitable organisations operating in the City, going above and beyond to tap into individual needs and the broader issues in communities.

Philanthropy is right at the top of our agenda, and we want to ensure as many people as possible are reached through our support.

We have some exciting plans for the future, for the City, and its residents – so watch this space.