Infrastructure Support for London

The Bridge Fund and Cornerstone Fund

In September 2015 the Trust funded research, commissioned through London Funders, into the future of infrastructure support for London’s voluntary sector, in close partnership with two key infrastructure bodies, London Voluntary Services Council (LVSC) and Greater London Volunteering (GLV).  The resulting report, The Way Ahead, was launched in April 2016 at Guildhall, following a period of extensive consultation with stakeholders. This report is available here.

The starting point for this research was three beliefs: first, that London needs a vibrant civil society to prosper; second, that in order to achieve a strong and vibrant civil society, just as any other sector in London, civil society needs access to appropriate business, technical and enterprise support, as well as a ‘voice’ within the on-going debate about London, its governance and the issues it faces; and third that the challenges presented by the current economic situation provide opportunities to review and re-think how that support is provided to London’s civil society.

Following this, in November 2016 our Committee established two funds to support the infrastructure of London’s civil society.

The first of the two funds, The Bridge Fund, comprised £1m to enable London-wide civil society organisations to engage with the development of The Way Ahead, with grants of up to £50,000 per organisation.  15 grants were awarded totalling £737,000 to enable organisations that had been funded previously by London Councils Priority 4 grants programme to engage with The Way Ahead.  A full list of the grants awarded under this programme can be found below:

The Bridge Fund Grants Awarded


Advice UK


£50,000 towards salary, on-costs and operational costs.


Age UK London


£49,700 towards the costs of three salaries, on-costs and associated project costs.


British Refugee Council


£50,000 for a salary, associated on-costs and operational costs.


Children England


£44,000 over one year as a contribution to the salaries of three central team staff and associated costs.


Greater London Volunteering


£48,400 towards salaries, on-costs and operational costs.


HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network


£50,000 over one year for the co-ordinator’s salary, on-costs and operational cost.


Inclusion London


£50,000 towards the cost two salaries and on costs and associated costs and for access costs for DDPOS to Inclusion London’s campaigns and policy forum.




£50,000 over one year towards a salary and associated costs.


Law Centres Federation


£50,000 towards salaries, on-costs and operational costs.


London Voluntary Service Council


£50,000 towards salaries, on-costs and operational costs.


Partnership for Young London


£48,500 towards the cost of the Strategic Director’s salary and a part-time intern and associated project costs.


Race Equality Foundation


£48,200 towards the salaries of two posts, on-costs and associated project costs.


Race On The Agenda


£50,000 over one year towards a salary and operational costs.


Transport for All


£49,400 over one year for the salary of the Communications and Project officer, on-costs and associated project costs.


Women’s Resource Centre£48,800 for a salary for a post to work on the Way Ahead and associated costs for the work.


The second fund, The Cornerstone Fund, is a sum of £1.5m per annum for two years, making £3m in total, to enable the Trust to work with other funders and key stakeholders, to support the infrastructure underpinning London’s civil society.

A reference group for the Cornerstone Fund has been established in order to help shape the parameters and governance for this fund.  The group comprises representatives from London Funders, London Voluntary Services Council, Greater London Volunteering, Heart of the City, Partnership for Young London, Greater London Authority and London Councils.  It is hoped that other funders will join the group in time.

We have commissioned Rocket Science to undertake a mapping exercise of what civil society infrastructure support is already in place, to help identify gaps in provision and also to identify who is funding what in this arena.  Although pockets of information exist, there is no central picture.  It is hope that the mapping will not only help the development of the Cornerstone Fund but that it will also be beneficial to the sector more widely. This report is now available to download here.

These two funds link in closely with our recent Strategy Review and the Funding Strategy for 2018-23 Bridging Divides which puts London’s communities at its heart. The work also complements other areas of the Trust’s work, in particular, our support for the London’s Giving initiative and local borough-based giving schemes which are generating additional resources and enabling communities to develop their own solutions and strategies to local issues.

Meanwhile, following on from The Way Ahead, LVSC and GLV have been working together to establish the London Hub, which will replace the functions of these two organisations, as well as taking forward the wider ambitions of the report. This was launched in September 2017 following a grant of £35,000 to support this initiative. More information on this can be found here.

For more information on The Way Ahead initiative see here.