Cost of living crisis prompts strategy change from London funder

Melanie May | 26 April 2023 | News

A collage of pictures of children, from John Lyon's Charity

John Lyon’s Charity has launched a new five-year strategy in response to the cost-of-living crisis with the aim of making its grants easier to apply for, as well as larger, and available over the longer-term.

The funder is also seeking to make its reach more educational in focus, and to streamline programme areas.

One of London’s largest grant-giving Funders in the children and young people’s sector, John Lyon’s Charity says survival has been the most common concern flagged to it since 2020, and that it is restructuring its grant-making to help charities survive the crisis and the continuing aftermath of the pandemic.

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Back in 2020, it ringfenced £1million to support grassroots charities in London directly after lockdown. The funder has set aside a further £22million to be distributed over six years, specifically designed to support the survival of the children and young people’s charities post Covid.

Other changes include the expansion and implementation of learning and evaluation to better assess the impact and outcomes of grant giving, and the streamlining of programme areas from 11 down to four.

It plans to increase the maximum duration of its main grants from three to five years, and to increase the average main grant size from £30K p.a. to £40K-£50K p.a. The average Schools in Partnership Grant will rise from £50K p.a. to £60K p.a., and there will be an increase in its SHAF Grant from £4K to £5K.

The funds available will also see some changes under the new strategy with the introduction of a Refurbishment Fund planned, alongside the introduction of a Gateway Fund for organisations new to the charity, and the removal of Small Grants Fund.

Dr Lynne Guyton, CEO of John Lyon’s Charity said: 

“It has been a succession of one financial travesty after another for the sector– from austerity to Covid to Cost of Living – and the reality is, we cannot fund every charity. However, our new strategy will help us focus our funds where they can have the most impact. Our new funding approach will mean organisations can request larger grants for longer periods of time to help alleviate the financial pressures and worries of the current climate. We hope that this new focus will help the CYP sector rebuild and be strong, and that charities survive this incredibly uncertain time.”

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