Charitable Giving

The Livery and Freemen Fund

The Livery and Freemen Fund (LFF) is your fund, supporting four ‘nominated’ charities each year and making a number of other donations with your support, under the guidance of the Livery Committee and the charities’ trustees.

It will typically support a nominated charity for up to three years, although each nomination is reviewed annually.

The Livery Committee welcomes suggestions from the Membership for possible nominated charities. To recommend a charity for support please contact the Charities Officer, the Membership and Communications Officer, or the Clerk.

The parameters are:

  • Preference is given to work taking place in or benefitting the people of the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Hackney and their environs, and, more occasionally, elsewhere in Greater London. Exceptionally, work which is national in scope may receive funding.
  • Successful applications will typically address physical or sensory disability or mental illness; other health-related needs amongst the elderly or children; substance addiction; or poverty and disadvantage, including homelessness. Funding for the latter category is more limited.
  • Grants are made for between one and three years, and are not normally renewable without leaving a ‘fallow’ year. Multi-year grants may be conditional upon satisfactory annual reports. Applications for “seed” funding are particularly welcome.
  • With outcome.   Preference is given to funding discrete projects with defined outcomes. This does not however preclude revenue funding where such funding will similarly allow defined outcomes to be achieved.
  • Education-linked. Although less likely to be a target of LFF, from the Company ad hoc grants towards the educational expenses of individuals in tertiary and higher education (which may include field trips) are usually restricted to people who have attended one among the Merchant Taylors’ family of schools. These are Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood; the Merchant Taylors’ Schools in Crosby; the King’s School, Macclesfield; Wallingford School; Wolverhampton Grammar School; and Foyle College. Others having some association with the Company may also apply.


All three charities were drawn from recommendations made by the wider membership directly to the Livery Committee. As part of a three-year rolling programme in 2016, the Livery Committee are delighted to be supporting the following charities.

Vernon's 2015

XLP, spent three years as one of the LFF’s nominated charities and after seeing the fantastic work they carried out, XLP was chosen as the Master’s charity by Mr Christopher Keville.  XLP is Church of England based youth project that turns traditional, uninformed stereotypes of the Church of England well and truly on their head.

Founded in response to a school stabbing in 1996 by the dynamic Patrick Regan, who was awarded the OBE for his work in 2012, and supported by an equally dynamic team, the organisation works right in the heart of some of the most divided communities in Inner London, addressing diverse yet interrelated issues such as drug misuse, violence, poverty, prejudice, relationships and identity through media such as the arts, sports, mentoring and socialisation.

Over the years XLP has grown from working in a single school to operating in over 75 schools and numerous communities across Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Islington, Camden and Lambeth. Whilst much work is still based in the schools, XLP also works on 22 inner London estates using both community facilities and XLP’s own double-decker bus facility that has computer equipment for homework support upstairs, and a youth “chill” space downstairs.


VCM (Voces Cantabiles Music) is a choral music foundation. Founded in 2006 since worked with more than 150,000 young people all over the world. The charity has three distinct strands: VOCES8, Apollo5 and the Gresham Centre.

VOCES8 is one of the leading global vocal ensembles, Apollo5 are rising stars in the a cappella scene, and the Gresham Centre is a international centre of excellence for vocal music performance, outreach and education based at St Anne and St Agnes Church in the heart of the City of London. The two vocal groups perform approximately 200 concerts each year all over the world, working with some of the finest musicians and performing in leading concert halls and cathedrals. The Gresham Centre, in the beautiful Wren church of St Anne and St Agnes on Gresham Street, hosts numerous choirs every week and is a venue for numerous outreach programmes, teacher training events, rehearsal days, recordings and concerts.

The annual programme of education work overseen by VCM sees VOCES8 and Apollo5 work with more than 25,000 young people each year in partnership with Music Hubs, schools and other education organisations. The education programme provides teacher training, a unique Young Leaders programme, residencies with schools and communities in the UK, France and the USA and regular training events and singing celebration events at the Gresham Centre.


For Jimmy was founded by the parents of Jimmy Mizen, a boy who was murdered in 2008, one day after his 16th birthday. The charity works to make young people safer by building a legacy of peace in Jimmy’s memory. The charity’s mission is to help all our young people fulfil their potential and build the types of communities that we want to live in.

The work of the charity was originally concentrated in Lewisham, but has spread across the UK. The charity has implemented an innovative programme of ‘Safe Havens’. These are shops and local business that children can turn to in times of need an dare identifiable by a sticker on the window. If a child feel threatened or in danger they can enter a Safe Haven and the shopkeeper will agree to lock the door and call a parent, guardian or the police. This fosters a sense of mutual care and responsibility between children and adults in the community.

On behalf of all of these charities, thank you for your generous contributions. The growth of the Livery and Freemen Fund has allowed us to, on your behalf, carry on our duty to leave the Company in a better condition for our successors.

To continue in this vein we absolutely need everyone’s support in the Company throughout both the Livery and the Freedom. If you are not supporting the Fund at the moment, and would like to, please be in touch with Kym Ash, Membership & Communications Officer ( or fill in a Direct Debit and a Gift Aid form.

For an overview of all the different aspects of the Company’s charitable activities, click here.