Centre for London research analysed Charity Commission data based on charities’ ‘area of benefit’ and suggests that charities focused on London causes plateaued during the five years to 2015. The Centre for London found that the capital has 1.4 locally based charities per 1000 population, compared to 1.9 per 1000 for England as a whole.
It also found that while London’s population grew 7.5 per cent between 2009/10 and 2014/15, and the number of charities overall rose 7%, those focused on London causes plateaued during the five years to 2015. While some inner-London boroughs, including Hackney and Tower Hamlets, saw increases in local charities, most saw a fall.
This decline has been seen in inner London boroughs, including Westminster (-4%) and Southwark (-4%), but is also seen in outer London, including in Croydon (-7%), Kingston (-5%), Waltham Forest (-4%) and Hounslow (-4%).
The research also shows that local charities are unevenly spread across the city. It point to the City of London as having a particularly large number of London-focused charities, while other inner London boroughs such as Camden, Hackney, Islington and Westminster all have more than two London or locally focused charities per 1000 population. Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Hounslow and Newham however all have less than one local charity per 1000 residents – below the average in England, and despite poverty levels growing in outer London boroughs.
Ben Rogers, Director at Centre for London, said:
“London is sometimes presented, as a ‘hotspot’ for charitable activity, in contrast to ‘coldspots’ or ‘charity deserts’ in other parts of the country. But our analysis shows that while there is some truth in this distinction, it’s not sufficiently sensitive to the difference between where charities are based and where they operate. Parts of the city, and the people who live in it, are in desperate need of support. Yet the number of locally focused organisations seems to be in decline.”
The report forms the first publication in a strategic review that Centre for London is undertaking into trends in giving and how to improve how London gives. The final report is scheduled for publication 3 September, 2018.
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