Last week LCF reached an important milestone of funding over £2.2 million to support COVID-19 response efforts in the Capital’s communities.
In truth, reaching this point has been a moment of quiet reflection. Thoughts of the scale of what needs to be done; fears over what London’s must vulnerable face; immense pride but concerns about our own team’s wellbeing, as they are – without exception - steeped in assessing and supporting London’s need and share an unflinching desire to help. And overwhelming gratitude to the people, foundations and companies, through our London Appeal and the National Emergency Trust Appeal who have not only shown their financial generosity but also their friendship. So many of you have taken time to check-in to see how we as a team are manging the scale of operation and need. It has, in that sense, the most incredible team effort. And it has meant an awful lot.
So, what does committing over £2M of emergency grant funding look like? Well it means over 240 grants awarded; daily rotas of grant assessments; evening grants panels; revised electronic finance and governance processes with daily – sometimes twice daily - payment runs. And revised electronic procedures for successful grantees to ensure we can balance our due diligence, governance requirements and speed of grant processing with their virtual working and scale of need they are meeting.
Every grant application is a sobering reminder of the long-term fall out of this global pandemic, particularly for those people and places already struggling. The number of people going hungry is growing with more than 1 in 10 or 130,000 families in London experiencing at least one family member going hungry since the lockdown started – which is reflected in the applications for grants to supply food. Well over half of all grants committed to date have supported food provision and we will continue to support. Concerns about refugees, economic migrants and people with no resource to public funds (NRPF) are ongoing as is need within and support to BAME communities. Whilst over 30% of our funding for COVID-19 has supported BAME-led organisations, national concerns around infections and death must continue to be a challenge to all funders to ensure funds reach those most at risk. As are the expected spikes in domestic abuse and mental health as restrictions are lifted, and how we can support London’s children at risk of violence. London’s grassroots organisations have never been so needed.
That’s why it’s important LCF takes a short period to review, understand and plan our next phase. Next week we are moving to grants panels twice a week to allow the team time to analyse work to date, plan for longer-term, if not yet recovery, and ensure our funds continue to reach where need is the most. In the coming weeks you can expect a series of blogs on our website from LCF on sharing this work.
And we will continue to share the incredible stories of London’s grassroots doing what they do best – serving local need, connecting with the most vulnerable, offering hope. This is our heartland and we exist for London’s community.