New charity funding will tackle COVID-linked health inequalities in north central London

  • Royal Free Charity awarded £735k funding from NHS Charities Together to lead community projects in north central London’s most deprived areas
  • Two-year programme will tackle physical and mental health inequalities and digital exclusion

A group of charities, public sector and community grassroots organisations in north central London has been awarded funding from NHS Charities Together for projects to tackle health inequalities linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pioneering projects will work with vulnerable communities in Tottenham and Edmonton and focus on three main themes:

  • mental health support for young people, especially young black men
  • support for people affected by long COVID
  • tackling digital exclusion which stops people engaging with increasingly tech-enabled health services and other services.

The community partnership brings together: local NHS charities; representatives of the local authority, clinical commissioning group and integrated care system; local umbrella community groups and grassroots delivery partners from the voluntary and community sector.

The initiative is led by the Royal Free Charity and funded through NHS Charities Together’s Community Partnership Grants fund, which aims to reduce health inequalities, support people impacted by COVID-19 and improve illness prevention.

Jon Spiers, chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, said: “Housing, the local environment and education are all factors that can contribute to poorer health, reduced quality of life and premature death for many people.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how these inequalities can increase the risks for some of our most vulnerable citizens. That’s why we’re focusing on three specific areas of vulnerability; it’s why the projects will be delivered by grassroots groups who understand the specific needs of our most marginalised communities; and it’s why the local communities themselves are designing the projects with us. We’re immensely grateful to the public for their donations which have made this vital work possible.”

Ruth Donaldson, director of communities at NHS North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are dedicated to addressing health inequalities for our diverse communities across north central London and this funding will help those who need it the most.

“We’ve worked with the Royal Free Charity and partners across the region to identify the greatest areas of need, and it’s only right that those affected should lead the way in making the necessary changes. This will be a step in the right direction, in bridging the gap, with local communities at the forefront and shaping the projects using their lived experience.”

Local delivery and co-production are key features of the projects. The impact will be determined by:

  • involvement in education, employment and community activities
  • improved wellbeing
  • reductions in serious violent crime
  • improved digital access
  • increased belonging.

Ellie Orton OBE, chief executive at NHS Charities Together, said: “As the national, independent charity caring for the NHS, we are delighted to work with the Royal Free Charity to make these initiatives possible. At the most challenging time in the NHS’ history, we believe they will create important health benefits for communities in north central London who’ve been hit hardest by the pandemic. We look forward to continuing our work with the Royal Free Charity and other organisations across the UK, to help the NHS go further for everyone.”

Geoffrey Ocen, chief executive of the Bridge Renewal Trust, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership, to bring much-needed funding and activities to Tottenham and Edmonton residents. Our connections to residents and grassroots organisations will provide support and positive changes to those in need.”


Notes to editors
The Royal Free Charity is the lead charity for this two-year initiative on behalf of the 14 NHS charities in north central London integrated care system. Organisations involved in the initiative are:

  • Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Bridge Renewal Trust
  • Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
  • CNWL Charitable Fund
  • Enfield Voluntary Action
  • GOSH Children’s Charity
  • Mind in Enfield and Barnet
  • Moorfields Eye Charity
  • NHS North Central London CCG
  • North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
  • North Mid Charity
  • RNOH Charity
  • Tavistock and Portman Charity
  • UCLH Charity
  • Whittington Health Charity

About the funding
NHS Charities Together (NHS CT) is a membership association for around 240 NHS charities throughout the UK. During the pandemic, over £150m of charitable funds was donated by the public for NHS CT. This amount includes funds raised by the efforts of individuals such as Captain Sir Tom Moore who inspired over £30m of donations. The Covid-19 Community Partnership Grants Programme aims to support communities through partnerships of public and/or third sector social and health care organisations.

About the Royal Free Charity
The Royal Free Charity is an NHS charity supporting the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Its vision is for everyone served by the Royal Free London to have access to world-leading healthcare, delivered by a thriving workforce and driven by medical research that has a global impact. The charity funds medical research, facilities and services at Barnet, Chase Farm and Royal Free hospitals, all of which is made possible thanks to the generosity of supporters.