Community Links is a social action charity which finds new solutions to old problems and delivers them with the whole community.
Based in Newham, one of the most deprived boroughs in London, Community Links works across Advice, Digital Skills, Youth & Employment, Health and Policy & Learning to take a holistic approach to communities that are ready for everything. During the past year, as a result of the pandemic Community Links saw an unprecedented rise in demand for its services and had to quickly adapt to providing a number of advice services remotely and online as well as offering additional support, such as an emergency food support service.
Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Its cause is, “To help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.”
In support of this, the charity runs a public engagement programme to enable adults, families, young people and children to participate in immersive, high quality activities and programmes onsite, offsite and online, with 3i helping to fund the Learning and Engagement Programme. With HRP’s sites closed or partially closed during a large part of the year, the charity adapted its public engagement programme to carry out as many activities as possible online and through social media, including offering school resources for children online, creating blogs on historical topics, compiling playlists of some of their past exhibitions and events with behind-the-scenes talks from the people who put them together and hosting online Curator talks.
The National Youth Orchestra (‘NYO’) of Great Britain is among the world’s leading orchestras composed exclusively of teenagers.
As well as working together in the orchestra, the teenagers are also encouraged to inspire other young musicians through the NYO Inspire programme which provides free opportunities to Grade 6-8 teenage musicians to develop their orchestral playing through in-depth workshops, rehearsals and public performances. Due to the lockdowns caused by Covid-19, NYO set about creating the largest digital music community that it could, involving musicians from as far afield as America and China, and mobilised its musicians to create large-scale digital projects. The NYO and NYO Inspire musicians also joined in solidarity for racial equality, taking a deep dive into the music of black composers during the Digital Summer Residency.
The Passage, based near our London office in Westminster, is a homelessness charity whose services have a high impact on the local community.
3i supports The Passage’s Client Development team which provides clients with life skills and helps them to end their homelessness by returning to work. Support includes computer training, literacy and numeracy classes, help with CVs and finding jobs, and financial and welfare rights advice. The pandemic completely changed the landscape for The Passage, meaning that the charity had to rapidly adapt its service model to provide an emergency frontline response and keep its clients safe from Covid-19 by helping them into suitable temporary accommodation as quickly as possible. In addition, some staff were redeployed to provide floating support for clients in their new accommodation; kitchen staff and volunteers set-up a mobile food service delivering hot meals to clients in temporary accommodation; food parcels were provided to new clients presenting at the Resource Centre; and the charity delivered clean clothing to clients in emergency accommodation with no access to laundry facilities.
Snowdon Trust provides grants to physically disabled and sensory impaired students studying in the UK, in further or higher education or training towards employment.
These grants help to cover the additional costs that students incur as a result of their disability and which available statutory funding does not cover. Although some students chose to defer their studies due to Covid-19, the charity supported those students who decided to proceed and approved 66 new Snowdon grants for the 2020/2021 academic year, totalling £200,000. In addition, the Trustees approved 12 Snowdon Masters Scholarships for students showing amazing future potential.
Re-engage is a national charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation amongst older people living in the UK.
Its mission is to empower older people to make new social connections and break out of the cycle of isolation. Supported by a network of volunteers, the charity works within local communities organising regular social gatherings for older people, aged 75 and over, who live alone. As a lot of Re-engage’s support for older people was carried out face-to-face, the charity had to pivot its service model quickly when the pandemic struck. As a result, it set up Call Companions which is a telephone befriending service that matches older and younger people, ideally with similar interests. Since April 2020, Re-engage has signed up almost 1,300 older people to this new service.
RBLI is a national charity supporting the Armed Forces, people with disabilities and people who are unemployed. They improve lives every day by inspiring those they help and supporting them to find work and lead independent lives.
As the pandemic struck in March 2020, RBLI had to re-focus and change its way of operating to ensure the charity could continue to provide support to its vulnerable veteran community. Covid safe plans were created to ensure the residents could still use communal areas and socialise at a safe distance to help prevent isolation; a Health & Wellbeing suite was set up to support the residents’ mental wellbeing and physical health, offering a treadmill, rowing machine and static bicycle as well as free weights and resistance bands to assist with mobility training for veterans with physical disabilities.
A number of nutritionally balanced food parcels were delivered across the Village to enable vulnerable veterans with physical disabilities and mental health issues to follow guidance and not take unnecessary health risks and laptops were provided to certain residents enabling them to connect with the outside world and regularly speak to family members. This access also enabled the veterans to take part in organised fitness sessions with British Military Fitness instructors and join RBLI’s employability coaching, LifeWorks.
Independent Age exists to make the UK a better place to grow old for everyone.
The charity aims to understand the issues faced by elderly people, campaign for change, and provide support people can rely on, from clear and simple guides on benefits and entitlements, to providing a free helpline and a network of volunteers helping beat loneliness and isolation across the UK.
In response to the pandemic, Independent Age quickly set up the ‘Independent Age Grants Fund’. The Fund’s aim was to sustain small- and medium-sized charities supporting older people through the crisis, whilst taking the opportunity to build a new ecosystem of support for vulnerable older people across the UK. The Grants Fund supported 214 organisations, allocating c.£2.5 million.
The charity also continued its campaigning work focused on Pension Credit, the impact of Covid-19 on older people, and a call for supermarkets to remove unfair delivery charges and minimum spends from priority delivery slots for people who are shielding.
Its strategy is to focus exclusively on opportunities where investments can generate attractive investor returns through helping meet pressing social or environmental challenges, such as backing businesses that generate jobs in underserved areas or building environmentally friendly care homes for the elderly to sustain an ageing population. To date Bridges has raised more than £1 billion of capital across three fund types: Sustainable Growth Funds, Property Funds and Social Sector Funds.
Since 2002, Career Ready has connected employers with schools and colleges to provide young people aged 14-18 with mentors, internships, masterclasses, and employer-led activities that prepare them for the world of work.
3i takes part in the mentoring programme which supports young people aged 16 to 18 who lack the opportunities, professional networks and confidence to find their undiscovered talents.
A number of 3i employees are volunteering as mentors in the current academic year, meeting their mentees for an hour per month for up to 12 months. Face-to-face mentoring meetings have had to stop because of the social distancing measures imposed to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 in the UK, and all students mentored by 3i employees have been offered the option to be mentored through virtual meetings and phone calls.
Church Homeless Trust funds specific support or items that an individual needs throughout their journey from being homeless to establishing a home and playing a part in society.
Resettlement grants are given for items for which there is no government funding available and group activities supported include cooking, expressive arts, digital inclusion and health and fitness. Church Homeless Trust also works with partners across England to reach homeless people who need help and offers accommodation in winter night shelters at Christmas time. The charity runs Street Buddies, a peer-led street outreach team which helps entrenched rough sleepers off the street. The past year was very challenging for Church Homeless Trust and its beneficiaries and demand for their services has increased steadily since March 2020 with the charity hearing many stories of people becoming homeless due to the pandemic. However, Church Homeless Trust continued to work with its partners to reach homeless people and provide them with the support they need, including focusing in particular on areas such as health and wellness and digital access and inclusion due to the pandemic.