The Coronavirus Appeal: Impact Reports from our Charities

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:

  • 15 tablets to children in domestic abuse refuges in Hackney and Tower Hamlets 
  • Children's activity and colouring books and toys to children in domestic abuse refuges in Hackney and Tower Hamlets
  • Nappies to refuges in Tower Hamlets and victims of modern slavery in Southwark 
  • Monthly food vouchers for 10 families in Southwark, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets 
  • Eight tablets for survivors of modern slavery in Hackney, Southwark & Lewisham

Rushey Green Time Bank

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:

  • Providing a supply of foodstock to help plug specific and targeted gaps within the borough
  • Providing stock to key local foodbanks and smaller entities vital but underfunded or under-sourced
  • The busy organisation provides bi-weekly email bulletins sharing guidance, resources, funding opportunities and news from partners as well as setting up forums and threads online for local communities to share surplus food and resources more easily; connect projects and residents with local volunteering projects in addition to creating and updating web resources for potential service users

Magic Breakfast

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:

  • Develop fortnightly take-home breakfast packs, which are either collected from specific points or can be delivered to the home
  • These ten breakfasts consist of cereal, bagels, porridge, beans and milk vouchers and can be delivered by volunteer or an Amazon courier who adheres to strict social distancing rules
  • With the Merchant Taylors' Foundation grant, 18,349 breakfasts could be provided to children who desperately need them

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:

  • 22 sessions have held over lockdown with music practitioners. Held via Facebook, the first session has now been viewed over 1,900 times, a testament to the hunger for this resource from Soundabout's users
  • Through these sessions, the charity has been able to reach new families needing their services through their Soundabout Live! sessions especially those who are shielding with their families

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

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