Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
Mar 30, 2020
The tough realisation of this pandemic is that when all of this is over, it won’t be over.
Beyond the immediate effect of the virus itself there will be the lasting – and no less real – health impacts of an economic downturn. This creates an urgency to act both now and for the longer term. And that’s shaping our response as a foundation.
In all our work we try to come at things from many angles with a wide set of partners.
Acting for the ‘now’, much of our focus has been on supporting the extraordinary efforts of frontline workers in the hospitals and community services of our partner Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
We have also worked to respond quickly to the immediate needs of our partners and local communities, many of whom are doing incredible things to keep essential services going. We have committed over £2,000,000 in the last week alone to the London Community Response Fund, citizen-led funding channels and critical local ‘anchor’ organisations.
And we have started connecting insights from our urban health programmes into London’s response effort – for example, on targeting food voucher schemes to families on lower incomes, and on using digital approaches to improve people’s mental health in their homes.
Our distinct impact as a long-term institution, though, is in our ability to influence and to plan ahead.
To that end, we have begun work with others to think through what the world will look like after this pandemic. What is clear is that widening health inequalities will have accelerated. What is less clear is how to minimise this.
So that’s our focus. And to the extent that any good can be said to flow from such a human catastrophe, there are now huge opportunities for change. We have seen an extraordinary capacity for people to come together, and a previously unimaginable willingness to redefine the role of the state – all of which are critical for many other global health challenges.
If you have insights or resources to contribute to this work, we’d love to hear from you.
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.