• New fund will protect community-led spaces that are supporting those worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Mayor’s total contribution to the London Community now close to £10m

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced a new £750,000 fund to help grassroots community organisations hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ‘Community Spaces at Risk’ fund will help protect grassroots cultural centres, social clubs, youth, education and other spaces that are locally-rooted and critical for supporting vulnerable groups during the pandemic. Many of these community hubs deliver a range of activities to tackle isolation, support mental health and resilience and provide essential local services, but they are under financial pressure when they are needed most.

Sadiq has been an active supporter of the role of civil society and cultural groups, and this new fund will provide one-to-one specialist advice, direct support and grants to help organisations protect these spaces. It will be particularly targeted at those most affected by the impact of covid-19, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, LGBTQ+ communities, Deaf and disabled people, and women’s-led groups.

The fund will be delivered through a new partnership between the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Office and Locality, a national charity specialising in supporting community organisations. The Mayor’s Culture at Risk office was set up in 2016 to protect cultural and creative spaces across the capital. Since the start of the pandemic, the Culture at Risk Office has been expanded and has helped provide urgent support to more than 660 cases. It has helped organisations and individuals with lease negotiations, fundraising, lobbying decision-makers to save at-risk venues, as well as emergency grants.

The fund will be part of the London Community Response, which is helping a diverse range of community and voluntary organisations deal with the impact of the pandemic. The capital’s already-stretched voluntary and community sectors have seen a significant rise in demand for their services this year, and the Mayor, who is a founding contributor to the London Community Response, has now provided nearly £10m in total.

Sadiq has identified “High Streets for All” – a City Hall campaign to promote thriving and diverse high streets and tow centres as key to aid London’s recovery.  This financial support will help support organisations that contribute enormously to the busy, inclusive and resilient high streets and town centres that rely on their brilliant cultural and community spaces.

Sadiq has continued to be an active supporter of the cultural and community sector and has lobbied the Government to do more to help them throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Community and cultural spaces have been invaluable beacons of hope, support and comfort to so many Londoners during the pandemic. They are providing an essential resource for our local communities, offering a safe and familiar place to support each other and delivering vital services following a decade of austerity. However, these spaces are facing increased pressures from the impact of covid-19, and desperately need support to continue their work. Through this fund, we will do all we can to help them continue to serve the communities who need them the most.”

Carole Reilly, Director of Service at Locality said: “Locality is delighted to be supporting the Mayor’s Community Spaces at Risk programme. We know from our work supporting communities to take on and manage community spaces, that access to these shared spaces, especially during the pandemic, has been vital in promoting health and well-being.  This fund will strengthen this work and protect the resilience of Londoners.”

James Banks, Chief Executive for London Funders said: “We’re pleased that the Greater London Authority’s Culture at Risk team is providing much-needed support for the sector through the London Community Response. By working together across sectors, funders are reaching a wider pool of applicants and are targeting their resources to the organisations and communities that need it most.”

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