Responding to Covid-19: Contributing to the community

As an impact-driven investor, we at Bridges have always believed that by driving better outcomes for all stakeholders, we can create more resilient assets that are better placed to create shared value over the long term.

This conviction has shaped all of the intensive work we have done with our partners since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.

Across the portfolio, our partners (with support from the Bridges team) have been finding innovative new solutions to protect their people, adapt their business or service models, and support those hardest-hit by the crisis.

Some have expanded their existing services to help the most vulnerable. Some are utilising spare capacity to provide time, expertise or resources to organisations on the front-line of the crisis. And some have been busy raising philanthropic funding to help their local community. Here are just a few of our favourite examples:

Adapting to support those in need

Although most of the schools served by Impact Food Group have (largely) closed down, the business has still been extremely active in supporting its local communities – by converting canteens into mini-markets for key workers (an innovation that may persist), by providing lunches to other local schools and children who are eligible for free school meals, and by supplying food to front-line NHS staff. These measures will help IFG to stand apart from its competitors and build important new relationships locally.

Similarly, our Single Homeless Prevention Service in London has also expanded its remit since the Government committed to freezing evictions and moving all rough sleepers into temporary accommodation for the duration of the lockdown. SHPS has been working with these very vulnerable individuals to support their transition into long-term accommodation, as well as helping them them access benefits and other services.

West London Zone has launched a ‘Bridging the Gap’ fundraising appeal to raise extra funds so it can support local families that are being hardest-hit by the crisis. It is aiming to raise £35,000, which it intends to use to help parents/carers support their children through the challenges ahead. This could mean providing food or other basic goods, or supplying technology and other resources to support online learning, or even offering language support to help them better understand their options. West London Zone has almost reached its target already, but it’s not too late to donate if you would like to: just click HERE.

Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership, a community support service for vulnerable people in West Yorkshire, has launched a dedicated Covid-19 service to offer support to those who would not have been referred into the service otherwise. Mobilised within a few days of the lockdown and drawing on the resources of all nine of our delivery partners, this service provides ongoing advice and emergency support (like food parcels), while also providing central coordination for services like foodbanks that rely on volunteers. By providing this service to the Local Authority, we are cementing our ongoing partnership while also driving better outcomes for some of the people most at risk from the virus.