Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
Dec 19, 2018
For Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, 2018 has been a year of deepening our understanding of urban health, of learning and sharing, and of building the foundations to become a more effective funder and a stronger fundraising charity. As the year draws to a close, I wanted to write a note of thanks to the many partners and supporters who have collaborated with us. Together we are on our way to achieving something quite special – both in South London and beyond.
Over the course of the past year, we have partnered with more than 70 organisations in our two programmes to tackle childhood obesity and multiple long-term health conditions, launching a range of Neighbourhood Schemes to test and layer different solutions in one place.
The energy this has channelled has been quite extraordinary. For example, our partnership with Beat the Street – an interactive game which encouraged families in Southwark to be more active – led to an extra 37,000 miles of walking across the borough in just seven weeks. Our Healthy High Streets initiative – a challenge prize supporting local businesses to sell healthier food – led to brand new menus at prices that worked for customers.
Of course, the most powerful partnerships put people in the lead. This year we worked to connect local Portuguese-speaking groups through our North Lambeth neighbourhood scheme. Through this, our partners are organising local charities, community groups and residents, to slow people’s progression from one to many health conditions. Over in Walworth, another of our hyper-local neighbourhood schemes is busy bringing together health providers, voluntary organisations and local enterprises, to reduce inequalities in access to healthcare.
As well as working to make a difference locally, we have also looked to create impact by sharing insights with others tackling similar issues elsewhere.
For example, Bite Size, our first major report on childhood obesity, contributed to a national focus on closing the child obesity inequality gap. Healthy Returns, our report into the role of challenger food brands in creating healthier diets, has galvanised investors and entrepreneurs from across the UK. And we are now lead partner on the London Childhood Obesity Taskforce, collaborating with the Mayor of London and others to make a meaningful impact on the issue in the capital.
At the same time, From one to many, our research into multiple long-term conditions, bought new insight into how this critical issue affects urban, diverse and lower-income communities. Learning from this work, we have joined forces with the Richmond Group of Charities and Royal College of General Practitioners to bring a much more patient-focused perspective to the national debate.
This year has also been a pivotal one for our role as the charity for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Alongside the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we celebrated the opening of the rebuilt Emergency Department and the new Rare Diseases Centre. We are indebted to the thousands of fundraisers, and the many staff, who have gone the extra mile for patients and colleagues by turning fantastic ideas into reality, from new approaches to radiotherapy to crafting for parents with children in hospital.
In 2018 we also continued to hone how we achieve impact. We developed new tools to help our partners understand their collective impact. We began committing 5% of our endowment – over £40 million – to impact investing in funds that will drive health in the UK. We prepared key sites in our property portfolio for future development with health and wellbeing at their heart. Proudly, we also became a Living Wage Funder and joined the 360Giving movement, helping to play our part in more informed grant-making.
Next year promises to be just as exciting as the last. We’re planning an ambitious initiative to test the impact of ‘nudging’ people towards healthier food options in some of the country’s biggest retailers. We’re undertaking applied research – some of the first of its kind in the world – into how social factors can slow down progression towards multiple long-term conditions. We will be adding a new programme to our urban health work. And with our partners at the Trust, we look forward to celebrating the 150th anniversary of Evelina London and to getting many more people fundraising to support its unique children’s services.
In the meantime, from all at the Charity, thank you for your support and inspiration. We wish you, your colleagues and your families all best for the festive season and a happy new year.
23 April, 2020
As a funder, our priority is to support our partners and the communities most affected by COVID-19. Our Portfolio Director, Louise Mousseau, sets out the actions we've taken to date and how we're adapting our work in response to a changing environment.