London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday fulfilled a key election commitment when he announced the establishment of the Mayor’s Fund, a new charity tasked with tackling child poverty in the capital.
Johnson announced his intention to establish the fund during last year’s GLA elections, promising to work with “the wealth creators of this city” to combat child poverty.
Johnson initially announced that Bob Diamond, President of Barclays PLC, would help in setting up the fund. In June last year it was announced Diamond would be stepping back from the fund after he announced plans to spend more time in the USA.
Asked recently about the status of the fund, Johnson told Assembly Members “there’s not an awful lot” in the fund’s accounts.
Yesterday the Mayor confirmed the charity, which is to be led by Sir Trevor Chinn and Chris Robinson in the positions of Chair and Chief Executive respectively, will spend £1.5m in 2009 on initial projects to help disadvantaged youngsters.
Mr Johnson also announced plans for a wider launch in 2010 when the charity will spend £8m across four local authorities around Shoreditch. It’s expected that it will be operating across every borough by 2013.
Johnson, who will act as the fund’s patron, said: “Sadly, some of our children live in unimaginable destitution and I am truly honoured to see the poverty fighting charity I pledged to set up during my mayoral campaign become a reality. Over 600,000 children live below the poverty line and London is home to some of the most deprived boroughs in the country. Like Robin Hood we want to draw riches from wealth creators to give life-changing support to the poorest Londoners.”
Sir Trevor Chinn said: “London is the greatest city in the world but its benefits are in no way shared equally amongst its citizens. We aim to improve the life chances and aspirations of disadvantaged children, young people and their families in London.”