26 March

What our charity partners are doing in response to Covid-19

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At The Lord Mayor’s Appeal we appreciate our incredible supporters, who help us in many different ways to continue on our mission to make the City of London A Better City for All.

We want to assure you that in a time of such uncertainty, we are going to continue supporting our four incredible charitiesPlace2Be, OnSide Youth Zones, Samaritans and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award - and working hard to implement our four initiatives of inclusive, healthy, skilled and fair.

They are addressing pressing issues and supporting some of London’s most vulnerable people – people who need their help now more than ever.

We think it is important to let our supporters and partners know what the charities are doing in the current situation, where COVID-19 has for many stopped some of their work and is impacting on funding. They are being resourceful, adapting their offering and taking advantage of online opportunities to continue to reach those who need them.

The situation is rapidly changing, and each charity is responding as best they can, but for now, this is what is happening.


Place2Be’s teams of mental health professionals are working tirelessly to ensure that they can continue to support children and young people during this potentially challenging time. The charity is flexing its usual model of school-based support and offering phone ‘check ins’ for young people and parents of younger children where pupils are not in school. It is also exploring complementary digital support in conjunction with partner organisations. 

Place2Be also continues to support teachers and school staff as normal through professional consultation sessions, and access to specialist teams on safeguarding and Special Educational Needs and disabilities. 

All training sessions, including Mental Health Champions programmes funded by The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, have been postponed in line with government guidance. The charity is developing a virtual fundraising toolkit and is updating its website regularly with advice and resources for families and school staff.

OnSide Youth Zones

The latest development from OnSide is the YouthZone From Home, offering activities such as live cooking, music lessons, and DJs. Each YouthZone has around 100 staff and volunteers, and they are upskilling in digital communications to see how they can engage with young people in the most effective way, through online sessions and social media. These activities are open to all, not just members. Some YouthZones are also doing phone calls to the most vulnerable and active members to check in.

Barking & Dagenham YouthZone are engaging with the local community and council, doing things such as delivering food to vulnerable families.

Social media activity has been increased. There is a rolling update here.


In light of latest government advice, volunteers will still be supporting the people who need them most from branches wherever possible by email and by phone.

On Tuesday 23 March UK Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock confirmed directly to Parliament that Samaritans volunteers can continue going into branches. The safety of volunteers is of utmost importance and Samaritans continue to monitor the situation. All branches are applying strict guidelines with regard to hygiene standards and social distancing. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, face-to-face branch visits are now temporarily suspended.

This time of uncertainty can be very unsettling, so Samaritans has put together some resources on looking after your mental health that might help. More on that here. Online resources and remote support is now vital. Thanks to funding from The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, the Wellbeing in the Workplace tools are providing a source of support for many people now isolated from teams and working from home.

A number of significant fundraising events have been cancelled. However, the charity is focussing renewed efforts on its Samarathon fundraising event, returning in July 2020, which people can participate in on their own and in their own time. Samarathon invites people to run, jog or walk 26.2 miles this July to raise vital funds for Samaritans. Samarathon can be completed while practising social distancing, and is a great way to get outside and boost mental wellbeing while helping Samaritans be there for anyone struggling to cope at this difficult time.

Samaritans’ online shop remains open and resource is going into developing the charity’s virtual gifts offering. Visit the online shop here.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

There will inevitably be significant disruption to planned DofE activities, but the charity determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Awards. They will use the flexibility that’s inherent in DofE programmes to help young people continue theirs wherever possible and over the following weeks and months, and work with delivery partners and activity providers to enhance this flexibility – for example, considering distance-learning, remote assessment, and moving expeditions and residentials to later in the year. 

They have created a dedicated webpage with information about the DofE and COVID-19 and shared practical tips for how participants can continue their DofE at this time.

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