The City Bridge Trust has released its new strategy for 2018 to 2023 which unveils how it will spend its next £100m of funding.
The five-year strategy ‘Bridging Divides’ shows how the London funder will support work tackling poverty, disadvantage, need and inequality. The Trust has worked with its partners and other funders to establish its new strategy, which it also plans to update throughout the five-year period.
The City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of Bridge House Estates. It was established to make use of funds surplus to bridge requirements and provides grants totalling around £20m per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London.
David Farnsworth, director at City Bridge Trust, and Alison Gowman, its chair, spoke to Civil Society news about the new strategy.
Farnsworth said: “For our work we really want to be connected with the needs of London and Londoners. As part of our rhythm of how we fund every five years we go out to London and have those conversations so we can make sure they are fresh and up to date. We wanted to do it this time as transparently as possible and engaging as many constituencies as possible.”
He said that they engaged with various stakeholders and put it online so that people could contribute and feedback on the strategy.
The strategy has been signed off and London charities will be able to apply for funding from April next year.
It fund five funding priorities:
- Connecting the capital
- Reducing inequalities
- Positive transitions
- Advice and support
- Every voice counts
City Bridge Trust said that it will take a “total assets approach” to achieving its vision, meaning that “as well as its £100 million of funding over five years, CBT will also ensure the best use of its other non-monetary resources”.
This includes the links it has to civil society, other funders and the wider funding ecology, and the expertise of its trustee the City of London Corporation and their links to local, regional and national government and the private sector.
'Not set in stone'
Gowman said that the strategy is not going to be “in stone for the next five years”. She said that “the plan is that we are going to keep looking at it to ensure we keep hitting the right spots in terms of what we are doing and how we are doing it”.
She said that they thought the time was right for a more flexible approach with the new five-year strategy, because “obviously funding from government and from local authorities has been restricted and is frankly dropping quite considerably. We knew that charities, who are core partners in this, are all beginning to hurt a little bit because of that lack of funding. There is other philanthropy out there but we are not quite sure where that is going in a sense, but we thought that we had to look at it with a really fresh mind to just see where we are going.”
Collaboration is a key part of the strategy. Farnsworth said it recognises that different sectors such as “the private sector, the statutory sector, the community and voluntary sector are much more focused on working together for common cause and achieving impact in London”.
Alison Gowman has written a blog on how the role of funders has never been more important.