Funders collaborate to invest in sport and physical activity for young Londoners
This week sees the announcement of a second major collaboration between leading funders of civil society in the capital. Go! London is a £19.5m investment by the Mayor of London, Sport England and the London Marathon Foundation in a 5-year programme to promote sport and physical activity among under-served young Londoners.
The initiative follows closely on the launch last November of Propel, a £100m collaborative investment between the Mayor, City Bridge Trust, Bloomberg and the National Lottery Community Fund to give the capital’s civil society and communities the flexibility and capacity to explore and develop collaborative ways of tackling some of London’s biggest challenges.
Both these programmes can trace their origins to the London Community Response, at the time an unprecedented collaboration between London’s funders which became essential to allow civil society sufficient freedom and flexibility to tackle the covid-19 pandemic. Lessons from that experience are now helping to forge new ways of working and approaches to investment in civil society organisations left reeling by a decade-long, triple whammy of Austerity + Brexit + Covid.
The pandemic also shone a light on place as a focus for social investment. Already emerging as a new type of local civil society infrastructure, London’s Place-based Giving Schemes were severely tested by covid but showed their capacity and agility to harness local philanthropy, community-level resources and place-based assets in a concerted effort to address different communities’ needs.
As the capital continues its recovery from the pandemic, these are encouraging signs of civil society’s taking a leading role, aided by a more trusting and long-term collaboration between investors. The ongoing challenge for funders is to ensure their community partners are able to maximise the benefit of these changes at a time when formerly dependable sources of income, such as the c.£600m from the most recent European Structural and Investment Funds, dry up.
John Griffiths is a Director of Rocket Science the Learning Partners for London’s Giving and Grant Managers for the Go! London programme.