We are writing this at the end of March 2020 – a time of unprecedented fear and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic shutdown.

With schools and universities closed, life-defining exams cancelled, the suspension of the Arts and Sport and families confined to their homes, this is a particularly tough time for children and young people – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Whilst the trustees applaud the efforts to help the elderly and vulnerable during this period, we have agreed that the Foundation should remain true to its aims of promoting education and opportunities for children and young people.  The upcoming recession will present major economic and social challenges and there will be more need than ever for a generous spirit of philanthropy to support the charity sector.

We have been impressed by the ingenuity demonstrated by some of the causes we support during the current lockdown:

  • EYLA

EYLA have had to close their premises but are trying to support their community as best they can in this worrying time and have launched an emergency appeal for funds. Advisors and mentors are giving guidance via phone and videoconference (although access to technology is limited in many households).  An extended school closure will have a dramatic impact on social mobility so on-line resources, devices and physical activity packs are being provided for children to learn at home.

  • Envision

Envision’s coaches are encouraging the young people on their Community Apprentice programme to put the grit, teamwork and creative skills they have been developing into practice with weekly challenges that are judged giving them a focus.

  • London Music Masters

Teachers have developed physical and on-line resources so that children can continue to learn the violin at home even though schools are closed. Here is one of their videos.

  • First Give

First Give is developing a special mini programme which will help students explore social issues during this unique time and plan and deliver remote social action to help their communities in a way that is safe for all.  Those with the best social action activities, judged in a monthly on-line competition, will win a grant for their chosen charity.