Shaftesbury’s COVID Community Fund provides £510,000 of Support

Above: Image courtesy of Simon Harvey Photography. 

Shaftesbury has revealed the full details of the £510,000 of support provided by its Covid Community Fund.  The fund was established in April last year to help local charities and community groups in the West End provide assistance to people affected by Covid-19.

The initial fund of £144,000 was created following the decision by Shaftesbury’s board to reduce their salaries and pension contributions by 20% for three months from 1 April 2020.  Shaftesbury’s non-executive directors made a 20% reduction to their fees for the same period.  A further contribution of £48,000 was made by board and non-executive directors in July last year, taking the total to £192,000.  The £510,000 was reached with the addition of more than £318,000 of in-kind support provided by Shaftesbury.

As part of its commitment to supporting young people in its local community, the company’s contributions have aided their partners to help over 1,400 local young people. There have been 17 grants totalling £192,000 to 12 organisations in the boroughs of Westminster and Camden, with the first grants made in May, with a subsequent round of awards including:

Awarding £30,000 to help create the mental health-focused Heads Up fund for the Young Camden Foundation to support local community organisations safeguarding the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and youth workers during the pandemic and its aftermath

  • Providing a £5,000 contribution toward the Young Camden Foundation’s Summer Opportunities Fund that provides fun and educational activities during the summer to combat anti-social behaviour
  • Supporting a learning tools fund created by Camden Council for families with limited access to resources.  The £27,000 awarded bought learning equipment including laptops, board games, books and book tokens, and provided story reading sessions helping over 250 families in the borough
  • Donating £15,000 to the Westminster Kingsway College to support an employability enterprise programme aimed at 14-23 year olds
  • Giving £15,000 to The House of St Barnabas to help the organisation reopen its House and Employment Academy with Covid-19 secure measures
  • Awarding £35,000 to the Young Westminster Foundation to fund a transitioning project for year six students in South Westminster moving to secondary school.  The programme focused on helping to deal with anxiety associated with changing school exacerbated by Covid-19
  • £6,500 to the Covent Garden Community Centre Food Bank to pay for a replacement extractor fan, enabling ready-made meals to be prepared and delivered to those in need in the Seven Dials community, often elderly and isolated people.

The £318,000 of in-kind support provided by Shaftesbury including the provision of accommodation for NHS workers, office and consulting room space for a Soho GP practice, and waivers of rent for charitable organisations that are tenants of Shaftesbury.

Commenting on the support from the Fund, Keith Morgan, CEO of the Young Camden Foundation, said: “The impact on mental health and wellbeing as a result of the pandemic is significant, particularly among young people.  With the support of Shaftesbury’s Covid Community Fund, we have been able to run a range of programmes designed to help young people through the crisis, maintaining their self-worth, ambition and desire to make a positive contribution to society.  It is vital work made easier by the generosity of the Fund.”

Phil Barron, CEO of the Young Westminster Foundation, added: “The pandemic has had an adverse effect on many children transitioning from primary to secondary school.  Levels of anxiety have not only increased, but are more widespread, which means a greater level of support is needed.  The donation from the Covid Community Fund has helped us make a massive difference to more children in Westminster at a critical time. This builds on our long standing partnership with Shaftesbury as a Founding Partner of Young Westminster Foundation.”

Brian Bickell, Chief Executive of Shaftesbury, also said: “The Covid Community Fund was created because we value our local communities and are committed to make a positive contribution.  We are pleased the Community Fund has aided so many groups providing vital support across Westminster and Camden, and we are continuing to provide support in 2021 as a partner in the community.”

Shaftesbury will continue to work with charities and organisations in the West End as part of its ongoing commitment to the communities of which it is part.

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