My views on inequality and the upcoming London Mayoral Election by Alex Bax

Alex Bax, Chair of My Fair London has written a personal blog with his views on inequality and the upcoming London Mayoral Election.

Inequality in London almost doubled in the 1980s. It has stayed at this high level for the last thirty years.

We now have more billionaires than any other city in Europe, and more than another point in our history;

5% of Londoners own 50% of the wealth of our city. 50% of Londoners share only 5% of the wealth between them;

Homelessness has increased by 150% in the last ten years;

Child poverty has tripled in the last 40 years.

With the impending London election, now is the time to ask our mayoral candidates to make a commitment to reduce inequality.

In the foreword to his last manifesto, Sadiq Khan, London’s current mayor, said ‘For a child growing up on a council estate today, London is not the city of opportunity that it was for my brothers, my sisters and me.’  He is absolutely right, and the biggest underlying change that has made today’s London a much, much harder place for young people to get on, is the incredible increase in inequality that we have seen since 1979. To create a London that works for ‘all Londoners’, we must begin to reverse that 40 year drift to the extreme levels of inequality we all live with today, and the many small, medium and large insults that such an unfair society inflicts on every one us.

What we achieve in life is partly a function of our personal ambitions and interests, our capabilities and enthusiasms. But all our personal endeavour takes place in a context.  The harsher the context in which we live the harder it is for personal qualities to overcome circumstance. A very unequal society, where money has become the defining characteristic of worth, is a very harsh environment for us all.  Gross inequality makes it harder for every Londoner to live a full, free and fulfilled life. It makes life harder for the middle classes and for the poor, it most harms the chances of people at the very bottom, and even the rich are not immune from its impacts, as they retreat behind gates and security guards. If London’s mayor is to deliver on that promise to young Londoners growing up today, they must tackle inequality.

A wealth of international evidence shows that more equal societies have more social mobility.  This is partly because the shape of more equal societies, the steepness of the social and economic gradient, is less.  Each step up, or down the ladder is smaller, and because status anxieties are less, moves up or down are less psychologically difficult. We only have to look at the make-up of the current British cabinet to see how easily privilege begets privilege.  The London housing market is a great illustration of how the ladder of advantage is being pulled up behind those lucky enough to have bought their home in the past. Today a young Londoner without the ‘bank of mum and dad’ faces a far harsher future than the young Sadiq Khan. Inherited wealth is back, and the privilege it brings is back too.

When Sadiq Khan was growing up in the seventies and early eighties London was a far more equal city. His formative years came at the end of a 60-year period during which Britain had become ever more equal. Since 1979 the gap between rich and poor has returned to levels not seen since before the First World War.  1970s London was not a perfect society, racism was endemic and gay rights non-existent. However lower levels of economic inequality meant young people were more likely to feel they could get on. With narrower economic gaps between people mutual respect and a sense of belonging was stronger.  As inequality grew through the 1980s these ‘felt’ possibilities diminished, and at the same time the practical supports that any fair society should offer to people lower down the social scale were gradually eroded. Today, a family like Sadiq’s, with a bus driver as the main earner, would be incredibly fortunate to get a council flat.  They would more likely live in private rented accommodation on an insecure lease, and little Sadiq’s education would have been interrupted by his family having to move house several times, and probably change school. His bus driver father’s pay has stagnated over 40 years.  The increased wealth and productivity of the economy has been taken by the top 10 and top 1% of earners. Today Sadiq’s family would be in receipt of tax credits to help them make ends meet and would probably claim housing benefit to bridge the gap between their household income and the rent. As the children grew up and moved away the bedroom tax might force Sadiq’s parents to move again.  Instead of the rent the Khan family pay going to a local authority, to invest in more housing or other services, today that tax payers’ money most likely goes to a private landlord through housing benefit.  Frequent moves will have stressed Khan family relationships, and may also have made it difficult for his parents to send young Sadiq to the school of their choice, especially if richer neighbours have used their housing equity to move closer to a school that claims better results.

At school, status anxiety and a more competitive environment will have increased Sadiq’s chances of developing a mental health problem in his adolescent years, and the growing ‘social distances’ between social groups have made it less likely that young Sadiq has a group of friends from a range of backgrounds. Youth clubs, libraries, other public services accessible to all, but most useful to those with the least, have gradually been cut.  For a young man from an ethic minority living on a council estate in south London to stay out of the way of gangs (where poor young people attack each other over the pettiest of sleights or perceived threats to social status) is a real challenge.  One bright spot is that sustained investment in London’s state education system, with a focus on leadership and the quality of teaching, that started in the late 1990s, means that London’s schools do buck the trend nationally in raising the attainment of lower income children.  However, if young Sadiq does well at school and wants to go on to university to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer he and his family will face the prospect of a mountain of student debt.

Of course, for the real Sadiq his late teenage years and early adulthood played out during the 1980s, the decade that saw what was probably the most rapid increase in inequality that Britain has ever seen. The most corrosive, pernicious effects of inequality take time to have an impact so perhaps the young Sadiq Khan, his family and community in South London, continued to benefit from the high point of equality that was Britain before 1979.

Today’s young Londoners, especially those living on council estates, face a world far less generous, and far more unequal than those of Sadiq Khan’s generation. Living in a highly unequal society exposes young people to chronic social stress. This in turn acts to dysregulate key biological systems in our bodies (cortisol levels for example) leading to increased life-time chances of a wide range of long-term health conditions and psychological problems. Being exposed to high levels of inequality is seriously toxic, and just like air pollution it is all around us.

The deep inequalities in our society set the scene for the lives of today’s young Londoners. Fairer societies have lower levels of crime, greater social mobility, lower levels of obesity and mental illness, higher levels of trust and higher and more fairly distributed life expectancy.  But high inequality is also a political choice. The UK has been far more equal in the recent past, and is far less equal than many other successful developed economies. I challenge the new mayor to recognise the harm inequality does to the city and put economic fairness at the heart of their programme.


Little Village

Spotlight Interview - Little Village

https://littlevillagehq.org

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Little Village is like a foodbank, but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5. In 2021 we’re marking our 5th Anniversary, and we’ve grown to become of the largest ‘baby banks’ in the UKsupporting over 11,000 children since we launched in 2016.  Families are referred to us via a network of over 1,800 professionals such as midwives and social workers.  As a volunteer-led movement of parents committed to alleviating child poverty, Little Village’s vision is that every child in the capital has the essential items they need to thrive.  The families we help are facing a range of challenges – homelessness, unemployment, low wages and domestic violence. 1 in 3 of the families we support are homeless or living in temporary accommodation.   In normal times, we support families from all over London, and currently have sites operating in Battersea and Camden.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

Despite the constraints of lockdown, we supported 7000 children in 2020, the highest ever number, which we think is a huge achievement. In normal times, families would visit us at our sites around London. However, with the advent of coronavirus, we’ve had to temporarily close our doors to families and completely re-design our whole operation to become what we’re calling a #VirtualVillage.  We are currently operating a delivery service to families, using a mix of volunteer drivers and bicycle and van couriers to help us get the items to families.  As well as providing practical support, we are also keen to support families emotionally, which is particularly crucial with lockdown as families feel more socially isolated than ever. For example, our volunteers are calling over 100 families each week to build and deepen our relationships with them. In addition, we are connecting with families virtually and we recently hosted a virtual coffee morning with 30 mums where families had an opportunity to connect, chat and share their lockdown experiences.

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

As well as supporting families in the short term, we are working hard to tackle child poverty in the long term by continuing to raise awareness of the issue. For example, last week to mark our 5th Anniversary, we published a new report, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, looking at the rates, persistence and depth of poverty in families with young children.  The research found 1.3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of 5. It also highlighted the impact of the Covid pandemic on low-income families with young children. Our new research led BBC 2’s Newsnight programme, which featured a report by Katie Razzall, it’s UK Editor who interviewed our founder Sophia Parker and Vicky Jones, a mum we have supported.  The next day, the PM Boris Johnson was asked a question about our report in PMQ’s by Ian Blackford MP, the SNP Leader in Westminster (10.48 in). We also shared the results of the survey in a webinar with over 180 participants.  The webinar will be available to watch on our website soon.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals?

We strongly believe in the power of collaboration to make change happen. There are a growing number of baby banks around the UK and we’re keen to work with them to amplify the voices of families we’re supporting. You can find out more about how you can get involved with our work here or please do get in touch directly with our new CEO Sophie Livingstone via sophie@littlevillagehq.org.

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

We think the 4in 10 network is a great way of continuing to engage in advocacy work by keeping across important information about research and advocacy in the area of child poverty.  It also provides a collaborative platform in which to connect with other organisations working to end child poverty.  Thank you for all the work you are doing to bring organisations together!


London Infinity Elite

Poverty Reports and Data, Funding Opportunities and News

Dear All

This issue has information about the Mayoral elections, the Select Committee Enquiry into child poverty and a Spotlight Interview at the end with Little Village. A very happy 5th birthday to them. They have done so much to help families over their 5 years while exposing the root causes of poverty, we are proud to have them as members. Read on for new reports and useful data as well as funding opportunities and an interesting job vacancy.

But first, 4in10 have a new Strategic Project Manager starting on March 8th. Her name is Katherine Hill and she comes with a wealth of campaigning and policy experience.  She joins us after serving for several years as a clerk to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in parliament, and before that she has had a number of human rights policy and campaigning roles at Age UK, Scope and The Children’s Society. We are excited to welcome her to the team.

Other 4in10 staff news is that Keisha is expecting a baby soon and has decided not to return after her maternity leave.  We all wish her and the new baby the very best of luck and much love.

Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into child poverty – deadline for submissions 25th FebIt is important that organisations make submissions if you can.  If you would like some guidance as to what could go in a submission, CPAG have put together a briefing based on the main questions posed by the Committee.

The London Elections are planned for 6th May this year for the London Assembly and London Mayor. People must be on the electoral register to vote. It is simple to register online and applications for postal votes are available but people must be on the electoral register before applying for a postal vote. This is a good opportunity to ask candidates questions about poverty and inequality in London. If your organisation is contacting candidates please let us know the questions you are asking them and if you get a response that we can share. (Questions suggested in the link below for the End Child Poverty campaign might spark ideas.)
Candidates are:
Sadiq Khan      Labour  Contact
Shaun Bailey   Conservative  Contact
Sian Berry       Green Party  Contact
Luisa Porritt     Liberal Democrats  Contact
Also standing are the Women’s Equality Party, UKIP and a number of Independents.

From members and friends:

  • ACEVO, NCVO and the Lloyds Bank Foundation have published their final report on Rebalancing the Relationship between small and large charities and how the culture of commissioning impacts on this.
  • Be Gamble Aware and Expert Link have joined forces to develop a user led network of those affected by gambling.
  • Big Issue reports that government is proposing a new strategy to help people on low incomes heat their homes, but warn that people will still struggle to stay warm without a stronger benefit system and help getting out of problem debt. The proposals will extend the £140 Warm Home Discount to an extra 750,000 households,  including working-age households earning less than £16,190. This would mean a total 2.7 million people paying £140 less on their fuel bills every winter.
  • Beyond the Box are looking for young people aged between 14 and 25 and living in East London to attend a series of workshops on cultural programming, leading to possible work on the Peoples Pavilion events and programming. Applications closing shortly.
  • The Bike Project is looking for a new Trustee with lived experience of the asylum system.
  • Bromley By Bow Centre the Working Well Trust and the Work Rights Centre have joined forces to run a free webinar on employment and employability in Tower Hamlets. 4th March from 1-2pm.
  • Centre for London is working with the Mayors Office and others to produce a ‘shared vision for London 2050’. They have created a survey with a wide variety of options as to what matters to you and for London. Please do share the survey with your networks and those who use your services.
  • Children England, Lloyds Bank Foundation and others are hosting a webinar on the government’s procurement green paper as it impacts on the voluntary sector. 25th February 2.30 – 4.
  • Debt Free London have extended their 24 hour a day service throughout February. For debt advice and support call  0800 808 5700. Video advice session online debtfree.london/video WhatsApp message on 0800 808 5700 or live web chat online at debtfree.london.
  • Digital Candle is a free service matching voluntary organisations up with a volunteer expert for an hour of free digital adviceSubmit your question and within 48 hours you will receive an email matching you with an appropriate expert. No question is too broad or too niche; whatever you need to know, they will find someone who can help.
  • Doctors Of The World have published information on entitlement to the Covid vaccine.
  • End Child Poverty Campaign have a template email you can send to your local MP and ideas of questions to ask and how to phrase them. This can be linked to both the upcoming budget and the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign
  • Expert Link are recruiting a panel of people with lived experience of disadvantage and the benefit system to develop a strategy for long and short-term policy change, and lead monthly online forum with local and national influencers such as DWP Partnership Managers, national charities and Government officials. They are running a 2 part training session for anyone interested on Thursday 25th February (2-4pm) and Thursday 4th March (2-4pm).
  • Feeding Britain and Emma Lewell-Buck MP have published a briefing paper on Stemming the Rise of Child Poverty with some clear recommendations for immediate action.
  • Gingerbread and StepChange  have published a report on lone parent debt.
  • Homeless Link are running a survey until the 21st February for organisations providing homelessness services if they have used Homeless Link in any way.
  • Huffington Post have published a piece on the rise in Tuberculosis, a direct result of people living in poverty.
  • Juniper Education Dataset Report unsurprisingly shows it has been the youngest children whose learning has had the most significant drop during Covid, particularly those in last year’s Year 1, current Year 2s. Certain groups have been disproportionately affected by the disruption to their learning with disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs showing greater gaps than their peers.
  • Lime Bikes are offering all London key workers – from NHS and emergency service staff to carers, teachers and supermarket staff unlimited free Lime e-bike rides to help commuting in a safe and socially distanced way during lockdown.
  • Little Village have published their report on the rates, persistence and depth of poverty in families with young children. (See their Spotlight interview below)
  • Magic Breakfast are continuing their campaign to get the school breakfast bill through parliament. This is running until the end of February and there are many ways you can show your  support.
  • Maternity Action and the Women’s Budget Group are hosting a webinar on reforming shared parental leave. 19th February 1-2.15
  • Migrant Rights are running a series of workshops for migrants on NRPF and everyday rights each day from Feb 22nd to 24th from 1-3.
  • Money and Mental Health report the findings from the Mental Health and Income Commission that there is a significant gap in average income for those with mental health conditions and that this has worsened during Covid.
  • NCVO, Nottingham Trent and Hallam Universities have published their latest report on the impact of Covid on the voluntary sector. They welcome new participants in this ongoing study. It involves completing a survey and the information is important to evidence the fact that our sector is Never More Needed.
  • Refugee Council, Coram Children’s Legal Centre and six other organisations have written to the Children’s Minister calling for every unaccompanied child to receive the specialist care they need.
  • Revolving Door have compiled a collection of eight essays titled The Knot, that explore how poverty, trauma and structural disadvantage create and perpetuate multiple disadvantage. To launch its publication there is an event on the 25th February from 11-12.30 featuring contributors and those with lived experience.
  • Runnymede Trust have published a paper on ethnic inequalities in Covid 19 mortality.
  • Small Charities Coalition have launched a new mentoring service for organisations looking for peer to peer support. They also run events all year to support smaller organisations including governance issues, finance support and events in community languages on setting up a charity. The next ones are for health and wellbeing charities on the 22nd February from 10 – 11 and Poverty, Housing and Homelessness Small Charities Meet-Up with the ASA on the 23rd February from 10-11.
  • Sound Connections host the Music and Social Justice Network and welcome new members. Anyone working with children and young people in London through music is invited to join.

Local Authority and Health Statutory Updates:

Funding Opportunities:

Job vacancy at Save the Children:
Senior Policy Adviser and Advocacy Adviser (UK Child Poverty), will lead Save the Children’s UK child poverty policy work targeting the UK government.

Keep an eye out for announcements about 4in10’s new website. The plan is for test runs to start on the 22nd February with the site going fully live on the 1st March. The site is planned to be very interactive and to include the work started during London Challenge Poverty Week, creating a searchable and useful list of the many wonderful voluntary organisations working directly with child poverty in London. We still welcome your photos or videos to share on the site, which we intend  will visually reflect our members work. All material will be credited.

Finally, thank you to Little Village for their Spotlight interview below and if you would like to be our Spotlight organisation in March or April or if you have information to share with our network, please do get in touch.

Very best wishes and stay safe.
Liza


Westminster Befriend a Family

Spotlight Interview - Westminster Befriend a Family

https://www.befriendafamily.co.uk

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Westminster Befriend a Family (WBAF) enables people to break out of cycles of poverty, and mitigate its impact with the support and accompaniment of trained and supervised volunteers. We runs mentoring programmes for parents and young people in Westminster and the surrounding boroughs.  ‘Mentoring for Mums’ is a programme we’ve just launched, that supports mums of children aged five who are facing challenges and who want to make positive changes in their lives with the support of a volunteer mentor.  With support to build confidence, identify and achieve goals, find the specialist support needed and get unstuck, our programme helps mums into employment and education, as well as providing practical, emotional and social support. Similarly, ‘Broadening Horizons’ our mentoring programme for young people aged 10 – 24 offers regularly one-to-one support on a weekly basis from trained volunteers, with a goal-focused approach to setting aspirations, building connections and reducing loneliness.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, since the first lockdown in March 2020, we managed to not only continue our services, but to massively increase our provision, tripling the number of people we supported in the last year as we expanded and introduced new programmes.   We took everything online and after a few lumps and bumps, we’d got into the swing of things by April.  Our brilliant volunteers were the linchpins in our success: they’ve helped us with volunteer recruitment drives, adapting to online working and their commitment to supporting families experiencing challenges has been unstinting, despite difficulties with communication and a hugely unpredictable environment. Because of the trusting relationships they built up, they were able to identify when families needed additional support with food, financial advice or IT equipment, and we were able to rapidly connect them to the right organisations so that their needs were met within days.

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Our volunteers have their fingers on the pulse of the community – because of the relationships they build up, they often get to hear about problems people might be experiencing before others are aware of them, which means we can respond quickly to individual or collective issues.  With our signposting and referral system, we can make sure people are connected to the right services.  We’re always keen to hear from organisations who support families and young people, so that we can connect them to the support they need, as well as taking referrals from them too.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals?

We’re growing, and we’re always looking for more mentors – compassionate people with time to give, as well as an understanding of the challenges that some disadvantaged parents and young people are managing: Volunteers can apply here! We offer full training and ongoing support and supervision, as well as Tempo Timecredits so you and your mentee can grab a coffee together when you’re able to meet!

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

As a small organisation, we don’t have much capacity to independently engage in policy and advocacy work, but we know that our experiences and the voices we can channel need to be heard.  Being part of the 4in10 network enables us to contribute to the systemic change that tackles the root causes of the challenges that our families and young people face.  The information I get from 4in10 is really relevant for me and helps me stay abreast of a vast and rapidly changing field of research and advocacy so that our programmes and funding applications are well-informed – thank you!


AFRIL

UK Poverty 2020/2021

UK Poverty 2020/2021: Why decisive action from central government matters now more than ever for our low-income London families.

“While we have all been in the same storm, we haven’t all been in the same boat.”- JRF

Reading the latest annual report from Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) we see once again that London has the worst poverty rate within England. Prior to the pandemic low-income families in London were already struggling to make ends meet due to an unfair social security system that failed to protect them from the impact of the high costs of living in London.

This report incorporates pre-pandemic poverty data that reflects the world as we once knew it. It shows that low-income families who were already gripped by the clutches of poverty are the ones being further economically affected by COVID-19.

The JRF polling in May last year showed most low-income families on Universal Credit or working tax credits were forced to go without essentials, falling behind with rent payments and pushed further into debt as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s a damning indictment of our society that those with the least have suffered the most over the past decade and are now being hit hardest once again by the pandemic.” - Helen Barnard, JRF

The report highlights groups that were disproportionately affected; lone parents, who were more likely to be women, low paid and part-time workers, including BAME workers, as well as private and social renters.

All affected were likely employed in the hardest hit sectors (retail, food, accommodation, hospitality) as these jobs did not afford them the benefit of working from home.

For lone parents it was sadly inevitable then, that the lockdown restrictions would have hit them hardest not only because of the sector they work in, but also because of the sudden disruption to their childcare arrangements.

“The government continues to leave decisions on the support available to the worst off in our society to the last minute. It doesn’t have to be this way.” - JRF

It’s clear that central government must act now to alleviate the pressure that low-income families in London face on a daily basis to simply survive. Proactivity on their part is needed to address this unacceptable level of poverty. The report highlights the following solutions:

  1. As many people as possible need to be in good jobs. Retraining opportunities should be made available to diversify employability for those who have lost their jobs.
  2. Earnings for low income working families need to be improved.
  3. The Universal Credit uplift needs to be made permanent.
  4. The benefit system needs to be viewed as a vital public service, rooted in the shared understanding that everyone is entitled to have a decent standard of living.
  5. Low-cost housing provision needs to be increased and the gap between LHA and housing rent needs to be revised for low-income families.

We will continue to push for change in these areas with our network of members, highlighting these very pressing issues affecting the lowest income Londoners – particularly ahead of the budget in March. Join us by talking to your MP and letting them know why you want to see action on child poverty. Click here for all the information you need to take part.


Resources for Autism

Great Job Opportunity, News, Funding, Reports and More

Dear All

We hope you are well and coping with where we all find ourselves.

You may have seen that sadly, Laura Payne is moving on from 4in10 to a great new post at the end of January. This means we have an exciting new vacancy for our team leader. Can you see yourself running our amazing 4in10 network, championing London's diverse and tireless anti-poverty organisations, maintaining, creating and developing contacts with decision makers and those who influence and inform them while leading a small and diverse team? Do you have excellent people skills and experience of campaigning and collaboration? Job description is here and the closing date is midday on the 18th January. Please do share as widely as you can.

As before a return to full lockdown means the danger of yet another increase in Domestic Violence. This is an updated list of the help available:

From our members and friends:

4in10 and a group of our frontline medical members are planning a Webinar on the impact of poor housing on children's health and safeguarding and what practical steps that can be taken to change this from a health practitioners perspective. The provisional date for this is the 29th March 1 – 2.30. If you feel you have something you would like to contribute please get in touch. More details will be available next month.

Local Authority and Statutory Updates:
Many London Local Authorities have developed an elibrary service. This gives access to online books, magazines, comics, homework help and more. Examples below of what is available from some individual boroughs but do check your own borough's library website for more details:

  • Barnet
  • Brent
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Waltham Forest
  • Hounslow have launched a swop shop for residents for children's clothes and toys and have created a way for families to give away items and request things they need. Send an email with the items to give away or needed.
  • The Department of Culture, Media and Sport are hosting webinars on Winning Central Government Contracts and the New Social Value Model from 2pm-4pm, on the 20th January 2021, 3rd February and the 17th March.
  • The Department for Education has confirmed it will go ahead with previously announced plans to increase the number of free laptops and 4G routers made available to disadvantaged children.
  • Ofcom estimates that 9% of children in the UK (between 1.1 million and 1.8 million) do not have access to a laptop, desktop, or tablet at home and that more than 880,000 children live in a household with only a mobile internet connection.
  • ONS state that only 51% of households earning between £6,000 and £10,000 have internet access.
  • The DofE also updated their guidance on safeguarding children on the 30th December. It now includes homelessness or potential homelessness as a safeguarding concern and requires public bodies to refer families to a housing authority.
  • GLA have a London Learning from Home resource site for parents and children to access resources and help.
  • London Boroughs Faiths Network, the GLA and London Plus are running the pan-London Volunteering Summit 14th January 1.30 – 3.30. Free and online, this will address ways to support volunteers and volunteering in London.
  • The Prime Minister stated that children eligible for free school meals would now receive supermarket vouchers similar to those provided during the first lockdown and during the summer and Christmas holidays. There is currently no information on how this is to be administered while schools are closed. Check individual local authority websites for updates.

Funding Opportunities:

Very best wishes and as always please keep sharing information with us so we can share on...

Laura, Keisha and Liza

PS: Did you see the Member Spotlight in our last newsletter? Do let us know if you'd like to feature your work here too.


Sufra NW London

2021 Mayoral Election

Election for London Mayor and Assembly 2021

The election will be held on 6 May 2021 to elect the Mayor of London. It will be held simultaneously with elections for the 25 London Assembly members and other local elections. The position of Mayor of London is currently held by Sadiq Khan of the Labour Party and he is standing again as the Labour candidate, Shaun Bailey is the Conservative Party's candidate, Siân Berry is standing for the Green Party and Luisa Porritt is representing the Liberal Democrats. A number of other smaller parties are also standing.

Why does that matter to our sector?

The GLA also known as City Hall is London’s governing body and is responsible for implementing the Mayor’s Policies. Although limited in many ways by central government legislation and by financial constraints, these policies cover how London is policed, housing and house building, transport (TFL), the environment, health, culture and sport, fire services and London’s economy. They also support London’s Youth Assembly.

The Mayor is responsible for setting budgets and deciding on the GLA priorities for the four years they are in office. That includes how and if they will attempt to tackle poverty and inequality in our City. 4in10 try to influence these decisions and hold them to account where necessary to ensure low income, inadequate housing, equality of opportunity and of outcomes are on every agenda and at the forefront of the Mayor’s thinking but that can only be effective if you make your concerns heard.

It is worth noting that the Mayor is not responsible for the NHS, council housing, schools, social services, rubbish collection, street cleaning, parking permits and taxation all of which are governed either at local authority or national government level. However, they do have a voice in all these areas and provide a London wide representation.

How can we gain influence?

Getting the attention of the Mayor matters even in areas of government where they don't have direct control. They are regularly contacted by the media for stories and for comments on policy and can raise the profile of issues that may otherwise be ignored. Providing them with the information and detail they need to do this can only come from those of us who see first hand what the main difficulties are for our children and their families and why they matter. In other words, it is up to us to give them that detail in advance, when they are writing their policy documents and to ensure they understand what really matters to those they serve. It is also up to us to challenge broad statements they may release, asking what they see as the solutions to the impact of child poverty and how they will prevent this getting worse during their tenure if elected.

You can write directly to candidates to invite them to talk to groups online. You can look at candidates’ websites and see what they are saying. You can tell us what issues you would specifically like us to raise with candidates and we can try to do so on your behalf and you can ensure your service users know about the elections, are registered to vote and understand that, despite the limitations, who governs London matters to us all.


ATD

News, Funding Opportunities, Mayoral Elections and Members Spotlight

Dear All,

Thank you for sharing your work, your energy and your service information with us this year. We’ve have been grateful to share so much of your great work with the hundreds of organisations in the network, and to see so many of you at our online events. A particular warm welcome to the 52 members who joined our network during 2020.

There is no doubt that food poverty hit the headlines in a big way this year so we have pulled together here some work from national players as sources for useful campaign and food provision information:

Looking ahead to next year we are mindful of the upcoming London Mayoral Elections and what these might mean to London. We have written an explainer for why they matter to our sector and how you can influence policy for the next four years.  We will be lobbying the candidates ahead of the elections, if you or any of the families you support would like to raise issues with us – please do let us know. It is worth noting that many of London’s citizens are not registered to vote and unless they are registered they will not be able to take part in this or any election.

We will also be running London Challenge Poverty Week again later in the year, so do confirm if you’d like to be involved in any of the planning or creative projects for the week.

From our members and friends:

  • Acting Out in partnership UCL, Pempeople and The Ubele Initiative are looking for young people aged 18 – 25 living in Peckham, the Old Kent Road or Brixton to take part and help create film and creative content that expresses how young people feel about their neighbourhood, changes that are happening and their hopes for the future. The next workshop is on 13th January from 6.30 – 8.30pm. To reserve a place on the workshop please contact Kelsea Sellars.
  • ATD4th World and Just Fair have produced a video to mark World Human Rights Day and they are hosting a webinar  on January 21st from 11-1.30 with Amnesty UK to illustrate how human rights are a ‘Bridge out of Poverty’.
  • Article 39 and a number of other organisations working in the youth criminal justice field have produced a report calling for an end to child imprisonment.
  • Children’s Rights Alliance for England have led on and produced a new report from 90 organisations, a submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child warning the many ways that children’s rights are “worryingly low” on the UK government’s political agenda. 4in10 contributed.
  • CPAG have released another Poverty in the Pandemic report highlighting the impact Covid has had on already low-income families.
  • Early Years Sector Coalition have launched a new campaign Birth to Five Matters to develop guidance for the sector, by the sector.
  • Health Foundation and the Institute of Health Equity have published Build Back Fairer the Covid-19 Marmot Review on Health Inequalities not just in light of Covid but highlighting how inequalities that were already present have just been exacerbated by the virus.
  • Ipsos Mori poll showed that 62% of the public support the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation have published a new report on Destitution in the UK and made the slides of their webinar on the topic available online. Their annual report, UK Poverty 2020, will be launched by a Zoom webinar on January 15th at 11am.
  • Maternal Mental Health Alliance has commissioned member the Centre for Mental Health to produce a report on the challenges the voluntary sector is facing and witnessing as a result of Covid. Please complete this 10-minute survey. Deadline 8 January but pre-Christmas would help.
  • Renters Reform Collective is a new coalition of 19 organizations dedicated to housing issues; who have come together to campaign for a second reading of the renters reform bill to ensure that legislation improves the safety, security and condition of privately rented homes.
  • Revolving Doors have launched a survey looking at the experiences of 18-25 year olds’ experiences of policing. The aim is to inform the National Police Chief Council to develop their strategy for policing and young people. The survey should take participants about five minutes to complete. They will also have the option to enter a prize draw for a chance to win one of four £50 Amazon vouchers. Deadline is 1st January.
  • Scope have released new figures showing how families with disabled children have been ‘pushed to the brink’ during this pandemic.
  • Shaw Trust has partnered with the DWP to manage JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support). This is a new initiative backed by a £238 million government investment and is dedicated to supporting those left jobless due to Covid-19.
  • Young Roots have been chosen to be the recipient of Aoife Hinds participation in BBC1’s Celebrity Mastermind on the 9th January. We wish her the best of luck.

Local Authority and Statutory Updates and Participation Opportunities :

  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty is meeting on Zoom on Thursday 14th January at 2pm – 3:30pm. They are calling for submissions on the impact of ending the temporary £20 uplift in universal credit and tax credits in April 2021, as well as the impact of not extending the uplift to legacy and other benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are asking organisations for short written submissions of the key points the APPG should consider to inform its representations to Government. Please send these on email by the 10th January stating whether you would be available and willing to give evidence at the meeting. The Zoom link is here. But you must let them know you plan to attend.
  • Barnet Council has received just over £986,000 from the government’s COVID Winter Grant Scheme. Working in partnership with the Young Barnet Foundation, the grant scheme supports families and other households financially affected by COVID-19 to meet food and heating bills. The fund will provide vouchers through a range of local partners, additional supplies to foodbanks and grant awards through the Barnet Community Response Fund.
  • Employment allowance scheme. If your National Insurance bill was less than £100,000 in the last year you now need to claim your £4,000 discount. It is no longer being automatically applied.
  • Equalities and Human Rights Commission have published their report on how Covid has affected equality in the UK.
  • Hackney Have your say on how the borough allocate homes and support people in housing need. Read the proposals in full, find out what they would mean, and give your viewsYou can also speak to Council officers at Q&A sessions being held on the following dates and times: 12 January 2021 7-8:30pm; 27 January 2021 12 noon-1:30pm; 9 February 2021 6-7:30pm; 24 February 2021 4:30-6pm. You must  pre-register to attend one of the sessions. If you would prefer to speak to someone on the telephone, you can call 020 8356 2929.
  • Havering Adult Education College are offering a number of free or for £1.00 courses and provide a free laptop loan service for Havering residents taking online courses.
  • Tower Hamlets are providing support for children in need during Christmas and February school holidays. Providing vouchers worth £25 to spend on food over the Christmas period. Any child who is eligible for statutory free school meals during term time will receive support. It is worth checking other Local Authority websites to see if they are doing the same or similar.

Funding Opportunities:

  • Bailey Thomas have opened a new grant round to support organisations serving those with severe learning disability.
  • Family Fund and BBC Children in Need are running an Emergency Essentials Funding Programme to fund items for individual families such as cookers and washing machines. They will also supply toys and other items where needed.
  • Justice Together has launched a new strategy and grant rounds to ensure people who use the immigration system can access justice fairly and equally, so that they can get on with their lives. There are funds available for National level influencing projects that connect lived experience, front-line advice and influencing strategies to create lasting change.
  • National Lottery Community Fund and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have announced a new fund to reduce loneliness by helping people feel more connected. To be eligible, charities and community groups will have to have an income of £50,000 or less. The Local Connections Fund will be split into two rounds of funding – each with its own application window.  The first application window will open on the 5th January 2021 and close on 26th January 2021. The second applications window will open in the summer.
  • Youth Covid-19 Support Fund, open to grassroots youth clubs, uniformed youth groups, and national youth and umbrella organisations, to help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain open.

To end a difficult year on a positive note, we are delighted to feature member organisation Magic Breakfast in our Spotlight feature below. If you would like to be the next organisation to be featured please let us know.

Thank you to all our great readers and remember this network depends on what you would like to share so please do keep information and knowledge coming.

We wish everyone a peaceful, happy and healthy 2021 and we are looking forward to working with you in the new year.

Laura, Keisha and Liza


Magic Breakfast

Spotlight Interview - Magic Breakfast

https://www.magicbreakfast.com

  • How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

Magic Breakfast partners with schools to provide children at risk of hunger with a free, nutritious breakfast each morning. School breakfasts boost children’s energy, concentration, behaviour and overall readiness to learn and can contribute to closing the educational attainment gap.  However, we believe that no charity can end classroom hunger alone. That is why Magic Breakfast is also campaigning for long term, sustainable, Government investment in school breakfast provision, to ensure no child starts the day too hungry to learn.

  • Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service.

We’re particularly proud of how we’ve continued to provide breakfasts to children throughout the pandemic, including during all school holidays. During COVID-19 school closures, we adapted quickly and began delivering breakfast packs to schools and directly to children’s homes reaching 24,000 children. We know COVID-19 has impacted the communities we work with; 48% of our partner schools surveyed reported that child hunger has increased at their school as a result of the pandemic. So we’re pleased to be able to continue delivering breakfast food through the Christmas holidays – hunger does not take a break for the holidays!

  • What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Our bread and butter is supporting schools to set up barrier free, stigma free, hunger focused school breakfast provisions. We have an amazing team of School Partners with years of experience of supporting and challenging  schools to address classroom hunger.

We’re also happy to share more information about our campaigning strategy and tactics. We’re currently focusing on embedding youth led campaigning into our work.

  • What would most help you achieve your goals? 

Magic Breakfast is campaigning for school breakfast legislation – which would guarantee schools the funding they need to provide breakfasts to children at risk of hunger. In February, the School Breakfast Bill will have its second reading in Parliament.

We will be launching a supporter action that enables members of the public to write to their local MP about the Bill. We would be so grateful in 4in10 members could share this action through their networks and help promote the action on social media.

If your organisation wants to be more involved in supporting the School Breakfast Bill then we’d love to hear from you, please drop Jake an email at jake.atkinson@magicbreakfast.com.

  • Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network? 

4in10 is a fantastic network that allows for organisations working across London to share knowledge and best practice to campaign more effectively against poverty. Many organisations and individuals in this network proudly supported the School Breakfast Bill in October and we cannot thank you enough for lending your support to help end child morning hunger. We look forward to working with the network in the New Year to continue our shared fight to end child poverty.