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Westminster Foundation has distributed £17.9 million in charitable grants since the start of the pandemic

The Westminster Foundation has distributed £17.9 million in 449 grants to charities and other organisations helping children and young people since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Foundation, which represents the charitable interests of the Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor businesses, donated £5.1 million through 200 grants in 2021 according to its annual report released today. This followed £12.8 million in grants throughout 2020, which included a £5 million donation to NHS Charities Together to create a ‘Family Fund’ supporting NHS frontline workers and their families.

The Duke of Westminster, who is Chair of the Westminster Foundation, said: “The past two years have placed enormous strain on people’s lives and livelihoods, questioning and often overturning so many certainties we held. Charities working with children and young people have been operating against all the odds during this time. We are proud to have played a small part in supporting them. Our starting point is always to provide a solid foundation to children early enough in life, so they can go on to live their lives to maximum potential and build the necessary resilience they need to overcome whatever challenges come their way.”

The Foundation made a significant portion of its donations in 2021 through 20 Partnership Grants. These multi-year strategic investments - typically £100,000 per year over five years - are collaborative endeavours, working with charities, or other organisations to understand an issue, improve learning, and influence change. Since 2019 the Foundation has distributed £9.3 million in Partnership Grants.

Kate Brown, Director of the Westminster Foundation commented: “All the charities we support, whether through partnership grants or small grants, have done an outstanding job to mitigate numerous issues throughout the pandemic. They have reacted to the gravest challenges and greatest demand for their services with ingenuity, flexibility and optimism to deliver against all the odds. 

She continued: “As COVID continued to disrupt the life of every child in the UK, especially the estimated four million children and young people already experiencing poverty, adjusting to the impact of the pandemic shaped every aspect of our work throughout 2021. For example, we took a close interest in helping children and young people access sport and great outdoors following the isolation of lockdown; we supported young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds facing difficulties entering the job market; and we highlighted the importance of positive role models in young people’s lives, following the lack of personal contact with teachers or youth workers.”

The Westminster Foundation is primarily a place-based funder operating in Westminster, Chester, and rural communities in the UK, but also supports national organisations that play a role in preventing long-term systemic problems for children and young people.

A selection of organisations supported by the Foundation in 2021 include:

  • Jamie’s Farm – a charity enabling disadvantaged young people at risk of school exclusion to thrive academically, socially and emotionally through a unique residential experience combining farming, family and therapy.
  • Platform for Life – a Chester-based mental health charity offering counselling and play therapy support to low-income families.
  • Storyhouse - a cultural and community centre in Chester that provides young people with real-life experience and supports them in gaining new skills, building friendships and achieving qualifications.
  • Street League – an organisation working with young people using sport as a tool to tackle poverty and give young people the opportunities they need to succeed in life and the workplace.
  • The Country Trust - a national educational charity bringing alive the working countryside for primary school children who would not otherwise be able to access it.
  • The University of Oxford - a mental health research programme examining a range of mental health issues arising from the pandemic affecting children and young people. The Foundation also provided £1 million to this programme in 2020. 
  • A Westminster Youth Club Collaboration – a group of three community-based youth clubs providing a sense of belonging, fun and informal education to nearly 2,000 young people.
  • Young Enterprise - a national charity specialising in enterprise education and financial education for school age children.
  • Young Minds – a national charity supporting families across the UK, advising and supporting them to understand their child’s behaviour and secure the right help.

About The Westminster Foundation

The Westminster Foundation is an independent organisation representing the charitable activity of The Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor businesses, that provides long term sustainable help and direction to vulnerable young people. The Foundation’s funding is focused on creating opportunities for young people (0-25) and their families to have the resilience, skills and capacity to lead happy and healthy lives. Through creating these opportunities, it aims to tackle the causes and impact of inter-generational inequality.

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