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John Lyon’s Charity sets up £22m fund for children and young people in London

25 Mar 2021 News

John Lyon’s Charity has said it will spend £22m from its endowment over the next six years, to support children and young people charities in London, to tackle the impact of Covid on the sector.

This funding will be in addition to the charity’s regular grant-giving of around £12m every year. The value of the charity’s endowment at the last year-end, 31 March 2020, was £345.4m.

The funder has created a strategic plan to focus on the children and young people sector (CYP) in the long term, with the core focus on home, school, and community, as “the three main points of reference in any child’s life”.

The additional £22m is in place to tackle the impact of Covid-19 to ensure that organisations survive a post Covid world. Each area of funding “is strategically designed to ensure a holistic approach to supporting children and young people”.

Youth organisations have experienced a substantial increase in demand for services against a rapid decrease in funding, during Covid-19.

UK Youth's report, The Impact of Covid-19 on England’s Youth Organisations, reveals the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on youth services. Two-thirds have seen an increase in demand, while  83% of youth organisations reported that their income decreased.

More than half, 57%, also report that the cost of delivering their services to young people has increased since Covid-19 hit.

John Lyon’s Charity says it will specifically look to support organisations by “initiating collaborations, replicating successful initiatives and rehabilitating organisations, using this funding as a lifeline for many who are at risk of permanent closure”.

Lynne Guyton, chief executive, said: “While we have been part of the collaborative emergency response coordinated by London Funders since last March, granting over £1m in immediate grants, we have taken time to reflect and believe we now need to act strategically and definitively for the sector for the long-term. 

“Our aim is to fund not just for the recovery but for the sustainability of the CYP sector. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have pledged to walk alongside our JLC Community and provide help and assistance in any way we can. We strongly believe that we need to take positive action now to safeguard our previous investment in the sector for future generations. Now is the proverbial rainy day.”

Since 1991, John Lyon’s Charity has awarded over £156m in grants to a range of organisations that seek to promote the life-chances of children and young people through education, but feels that the pandemic shows it must go further. 

Cathryn Pender, the charity’s grants director, said: “The impact of Covid-19 threatens to sweep away even the strongest of organisations; once they are gone, they will not come back.”

One of the first areas the charity will address is the “dramatic fall” in the offer of creative opportunities in schools by launching a new Cultural Capital Fund.

A statement from the charity reads: “There is a real risk that an appreciation and enjoyment of the Arts will become the preserve of those who can afford it. This innovative new Fund is designed to bring Arts organisations and schools together to ensure there is a varied and accessible offer available to all children, regardless of their background.”

Grants are restricted to the nine London boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster.

The Cultural Capital Fund has gone live which is a part of the strategy that has stemmed from the additional funding.

The rest of the funding will be available through its usual grants process, and an Eligibility Tracker for guidance can be used to make sure charities meet the minimum requirements. 

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