An update from our CEO

3rd July 2020

Three months ago, the world changed. Lockdown was announced and instantly much of our daily lives and routines ground to a halt. Though it was difficult in those first few weeks to assess precisely how much low income families would be affected, we knew there was no time to lose.

So, we turned to you. We asked for your support in helping us to make a difference in the quickest way we could. And you responded in the most generous manner possible.

Now we want to share what we have been able to achieve since those early weeks in March:

Through our fabulous community partners, our Kitchen Social programme has provided an astonishing 120,000 meals to thousands of children so far. We have spoken to families who let us know the overwhelming difference the programme has made to their lives. Parents have spoken of “stress relief”, how the deliveries were “one of the few highlights” for their children, and how having access to good food was “easing the financial burden.”

Our Count on Us Maths Challenges stepped up too. We created virtual pages where participating schools can access resources and continue to support children with maths activities. This included brand new ‘Maths at Home’ booklets and fun ‘Weekly Challenge’ games. Prior to lockdown, over 1,200 students were involved in the programme – this number has now tripled! One teacher told us about the new-found creativity of their students who “have shared video clips of them doing the Tower of Hanoi activity using resources from around their home.”

The Access Aspiration team have worked incredibly hard to move our employability offer online. Since lockdown, over 400 students have attended webinars hosted by professionals from  Audible, Barclays, the BBC, M&C Saatchi, Nasdaq, the Bank of England and many more. These sessions resonated greatly with our young people: 85% reported an improved knowledge of career opportunities after having attended. One student said the sessions “cleared many doubts I had and made me realise that opportunity is everywhere.”

Over on our Creativity Works programme, we have used the power of technology to continue our engagement with the young participants. With support from amazing companies such as the BBC, CNN and Channel 4, many participants were left feeling inspired by what the future holds: “Yes, I don’t know why it took corona but it’s made me think about exactly where I don’t want to be, especially in a time like this, it puts into perspective how short life can be, time is limited and I want to spend the rest of mine doing what I enjoy – starting now!”

MFL Our blog Creativity Works

Finally, through our My City and Me project  – launched during lockdown – we have given young people a platform to reflect on life in the COVID-19 era. I invite you to take a look at the posts and be inspired, as I am, by the incredible creativity, resilience, and sense of optimism of young Londoners.

On behalf of the whole team, thank you. None of this would have been able without the extraordinary support from you.

Kirsty McHugh

Chief Executive Officer, Mayor’s Fund for London