13 July 2020
The origins of the Billesden Award and our feud with the Skinners' Company
20 June 2020
At the beginning of this year, the country was wrestling, somewhat wearily, with the challenges of Brexit. Looking back now, it can seem a lifetime ago.
Within months the country was plunged into an unprecedented lockdown following others around the globe. There has been tremendous loss of life directly and indirectly caused by the COVID-19 virus and the full economic impact continues to loom large.
While it will impact all of us in the years to come, hardships will fall most acutely on those in our society who were already vulnerable and struggling.
The Company launched its Merchant Taylors' Foundation speedily, believing that this unprecedented situation required strategic and immediate action to help abate the hardships faced by millions. Through your giving, the Foundation has been able to help small frontline charities and schools desperately in need of funds to support their service users and wider communities. Now, after the close of our Coronavirus Appeal we update you on some of those organisations and how you've been able to make a real and actual difference to many.
Hestia supports victims of domestic abuse and modern slavery. From helping women and families escape dangerous situations, finding temporary and later permanent housing to facilitating relationships within local communities to help in lasting recovery, Hestia provides vital services for many women. The challenges posed by lockdown where diminished capability in supporting isolated women and families was met with a huge surge in demand for their already-stretched services. Through the Merchant Taylors' Foundation, you have been able to help fund:
Based in Lewisham this charity partnered with other local organisations to lead the network in providing free food during the initial lockdown and continuing through the pandemic with foodbanks and other providers.
Beginning with eight organisations the network has now grown considerably with over 30 projects ongoing.
Millions across the country have been pushed into food poverty, resulting in many relying on community-run organisations such as this in order to survive.The grant made to Rushey Green Time Bank has enabled them to continue:
Magic Breakfast is a charity committed to ending child hunger within the UK. Due to coronavirus, the numbers of children at risk of food poverty have surged to 4.1 million. Despite this, Magic Breakfast remains committed to ensuring that children can have a healthy, energising breakfast each school morning that will enable them to concentrate and have the best start to their days.
While breakfast clubs have been unable to go forward as usual over lockdown, the Foundation's grant has helped Magic Breakfast to continue to:
The impact of your support at this critical time is tangible and Magic Breakfast continues to stay in close contact with schools for regular feedback and updates to best respond to need quickly as well as the Department of Education.
On Friday I sent two brothers home with several bagels, beans, juice, a box of cereal and a couple of other items. Their mum's thanks and gratitude warmed and broke my heart all at once. Please pass my thanks onto the rest of your team as you're helping so, so many families like this
Soundabout empowers people or carers of people with profound and complex learning needs to unlock their potential through music. Through community and one-to-one or family-specific sessions, the charity empowers and aids service users to communicate, grow in confidence and have fun. Of course, due to the lockdown, the charity and the families who depend on them were stripped of both fundraising opportunities as well as the vital in-person sessions they hold. The Merchant Taylors' Foundation grant has enabled the charity to fund music practitioners and tech equipment for online music sessions:
Your live sessions have been such a gift... We've laughed, danced, made all sorts of weird and wonderful noises and you've brought fun, love and laughter to our living room almost every day over the last few weeks as we've listened to your stories over and over