Briefing session: Recovery planning for London’s civil society

We asked the participants at the London Plus webinar to describe their experience of work during lockdown in one word

Late in May, London Plus hosted a briefing to help charities and wider civil society in London to plan for the future as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold. There were presentations from London Funders, London Councils, the GLA, the Strategic Coordination Group as well as case studies from three charities grappling with delivering services with during and beyond the pandemic.

You can watch the full webinar via this link on the London Plus Youtube channel.

It was a valuable session bringing together funders, the statutory sector and front-line charities. The range of presentations reflects, we feel, a shared interest across sectors in ensuring charities and wider civil society in London are supported to continue to deliver crucial services during the current pandemic.

The pandemic has illustrated again how civil society responds effectively and flexibly to community and individual needs. It has also highlighted the strong links and co-dependency between the statutory and voluntary sectors. Building on this, London Plus, the GLA and others will continue to provide briefings and collect and share case studies and intelligence about how organisations are dealing with the consequences of the pandemic. If you want to be kept informed about these briefings, please get in touch:

Read on to dowload the presentations and links from the webinar.


London Funders – James Banks

  • Over 350 funders from across the UK have signed up to the Funder Commitment.
  • 54 funders have collectively committed over £18 million to the London Community Response fund.  £11 million has already been distributed. Wave 3 is coming shortly.
  • Crisis response funding will not have a big impact on the available funds for future work. Every year London Funders members give £0.5 billion in grants to civil society groups in London. The crisis response funding so far is only 3.5% of this.
  • London funders are undertaking learning of what has happened in wave 1 and 2 with their members and recipients to ensure wave 3 and wave 4 meets the needs of  Londoners.
  • If you are looking for additional funding, the funding you already have in place is the best place to start. Talk to your funders about what flexibility there is in how you work now and as we emerge from the crisis.

Download the London Funders presentation (ppt)

London Councils – Yolande Burgess

  • We need to put people first, when thinking about recovery. How do we empower individuals and give them the tools to create solutions to the problems close to them?
  • London is a ‘series of tiny villages’. Thinking about different places as part of London needs to be a part of our approach. We have to recognise that each area in London have different needs.
  • Honest conversations with partners is important to forge meaningful and fruitful relationships.  There is a need  to firstly, address inequality within the sector to be able to address inequality across London.
  • Leadership needs to change, and be distributed.
  • Cross-sector interdependencies – mutual asset approach. We need to learn from the cross-sector collaboration during the crisis.
  • Recovery will not be one single easy transition.

Download the London Councils presentation (ppt)

GLA (Strategy, Insight and Intelligence) – Jeremy Skinner

  • A defining aspect of the crisis is the social distancing impact.
  • There has been a disproportionate impact on BAME groups.
  • We recognise intense pressure on London’s civil society and voluntary and community sector.
  • A core challenge going forward is to improve the health and social care services so that we are more resilient in the future.
  • We need a systematic way of organising  the agencies and partnerships which will be involved in recovery over the next few months and years.  The Mayor of London will be establishing a task force with a number of working groups covering different aspects of recovery e.g. economic and social care.
  • We want to engage directly with Londoners through platforms such as Talk London. 

GLA (London Community Response Survey) – Farah Elahi

  • The London Community Response Survey, is a  weekly survey aimed at civil society organisations who play a vital role in supporting vulnerable groups.  The results are being shared on the London Datastore each week. 
  • The respondents represent every London borough.
  • On average organisations that answered the survey, work with 10 different beneficiary groups. Representation is highest amongst those whose main beneficiaries are young people, the general public, children, BAME Londoners, socially excluded/lonely/vulnerable people and homeless people.
  • The main areas of work of responding organisations are health and well-being, advice and support services, community development and mutual aid and cohesion/civic participation.
  • Less than 10 organisations each week are saying that demand is decreasing. However numbers of people seeking support are becoming more stable.
  • Demand for support with isolation and loneliness, mental health and digital connectivity has been increasing each week. These particular needs are cross-cutting across all sectors.
  • Planning for recovery, sustainable funding beyond the crisis and maintaining contact with beneficiaries are the biggest challenges which organisations have been facing.
  • The groups which were most commonly highlighted because their needs are not being met are: Disabled people, Gypsy, Roma or Travellers, NRPF, LGBTQ+, homeless Londoners, BAME groups and freelancers or self employed groups.

Download the GLA (Community Response Survey) presentation (ppt)

Strategic Coordination Group – Mark Sawyer

  • The strategic coordination group has been established since mid-March in response to Covid-19.
  • Some of the key areas of work have been: Joining up the NHS and social care activity to ensure people leaving hospital have the capacity to be looked after in the social care network. Ensuring, sufficient mortuary capacity.  Making sure PPE is shared for emergency deliveries.  Ensuring that there is a consistent approach to shielding. Working closely with the GLA and Local Authorities around food supplies to London and supporting food banks.
  • The funders, communities and volunteers group. Established a model for working which will hopefully be a positive legacy in terms of collaborative working.
  • There are plans in place to ensure that London’s structures which have been established to deal with the challenges we have faced during Covid-19 will remain operationally ready for the foreseeable future.
  • We need to remain ready, ensure the recovery programme is representative of london’s communities, look at what kind city we want to live in after the crisis, ensure the legacy of collaboration and the incredible community response is not lost.

Case Studies

Full write ups from the case studies are coming soon. In the meantime you can listen to their presentations from the webinar on the London Plus youtube link at the top of this blog. You can also download their presentations below.

West London Zone (WLZ) – Louisa Mitchell

You can read Louisa’s full presentation on the WLZ website.

You can also read how they have adapted their services during the pandemic here.

Download the West London Zone presentation (ppt)

Cardinal Hume Centre – Hilary Nightingale

Download the Cardinal Hume Centre presentation (ppt)

Working safely during Covid-19 factsheet(PDF) 

Young Brent Foundation – Chris Murray

Download the Young Brent Foundation presentation (ppt)


During the presentation we asked the webinar attendees questions via Mentimeter. To enlarge the images please click on them.

We had over 300 people from charities and wider civil society join us on the webinar, over half (54%) were from charities.

We asked the audience which type of organisation they were from.

There was representation from a variety of organisations on our webinar, the largest being charities.











What concerns you most about the pandemic over the course of the next 18 months?

We asked the participants what they were most concerned about over the next 18 months.

Unsurprisingly the biggest concerns from our audience were uncertainty and funding

The top 10 concerns about the next 18 months following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top 10 concerns about the next 18 months following the Covid-19 pandemic

Describe your experience of work during lockdown using one word


We asked the participants of our webinar to describe working during the pandemic in one word

Busy, stressful and intense were the most popular phrases people used to describe working during lockdown

The top 10 words our webinar audience used to describe working during lockdown.

The top 10 words people used to describe working during lockdown