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8 July 2020

Strengthening Civil Society programme gives nearly £800,000 in grants

The majority of this funding will help civil society organisations manage the impact of COVID-19 on their beneficiaries and on their organisations.
Strengthening Civil Society

Last week, the Foundation was pleased to give nearly £800,000 in grants through its Strengthening Civil Society programme which supports civil society to use the law for social change and to tackle discrimination and disadvantage.

A majority of this funding will go to help civil society organisations manage the impact of COVID-19 on their beneficiaries and on their organisations.

Seven grants were given through the COVID-19 Response Fund: Supporting legal action related to the pandemic.

  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Childrens Law Centre NI
  • Friends, Families and Travellers
  • Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
  • Motherhood Plan (Pregnant then Screwed)
  • Open Trust
  • Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex & London

This funding is designed to legal action in all its forms – empowering, persuading, challenging – that seeks to protect vulnerable individuals and communities from the impact of COVID-19 and the response to the pandemic from public authorities, businesses, and communities. There is a second round for this fund, deadline Tuesday 11 August. Find out more about the fund – and also review our tips on applying.

A further five grants were given to hub organisations offering expert legal advice to other civil society organisations to help them manage increases in demand caused by the pandemic:

  • Access Social Care
  • Central England Law Centre
  • Lasa Charity UK
  • National AIDS Trust
  • Public Interest Law Centre

We have also given small grants to existing grantholders to help them mitigate operational impacts from the pandemic, with grants so far to: Pembrokeshire People First, Friends, Families and Travellers, Just Fair, Birthrights, Family Rights Group and Citizens Advice Plymouth.

We are renewing our partnership with openDemocracy which will continue its investigation on unlawful public decision-making, this time reporting on how civil society is using legal action to support people and communities worst affected by COVID-19.

Outside our COVID response, we gave a three-year grant towards the Justice Together Initiative, a pooled fund between several foundations which is designed to support the immigration sector through an anticipated spike in immigration advice needs as a result of Brexit and the implementation of a new immigration system over the next few years. The Initiative is hosted by The Legal Education Foundation.

And last but not least, we gave two further grants in our Implementation of Successful Litigation Fund:

  • Anti-Slavery International
  • Migrants’ Rights Network

This fund supports civil society organisations who want to make sure a piece of successful litigation goes on to deliver change for people experiencing discrimination or disadvantage. There is a final deadline for this fund this year on 12 August 2020 at 9am.

All our grants for this programme are listed on our database here.

The focus of funding this year will be support for civil society organisations to weather the effects of the pandemic and support those worst affected by it. The Programme’s Director sets out the long(er) view for the Strengthening Civil Society programme over the next few years in this blog.