Why we support the Living Wage

23 November 2022

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We are proud to announce that The Symondson Foundation and Alexander Square Partners were recently accredited as Living Wage Funders. This means that we pay all our staff above the Living Wage, support our grantees in becoming Living Wage Employers, and spread the word about the importance of paying employees a realistic, fair rate of pay. 

The Living Wage is the only UK rate based on the real cost of living. It is not a legal requirement to pay the Living Wage, rather, nearly 12,000 businesses have signed up to the scheme to voluntarily pay their staff a wage that meets everyday needs, be it the weekly shop, unexpected repairs, or life-enriching activities. Whilst the statutory National Living Wage is currently £9.50 (with no London weighting), the voluntary Real Living Wage is £10.90 across the UK, and £11.95 for London. As the cost of living snowballs and with stagnant wages not meeting soaring inflation, we want to support our current and future grantees in being able to meet the Living Wage. 

The third sector is especially vulnerable to feeling they have to pinch core costs in times of financial adversity. We recognise that this is often as a result of pressure from funders, and the tendency to devalue core costs in favour of restricted funding. 

‘Feedback from third sector organisations has shown that there is pressure to demonstrate to funders that they can deliver the most results for the least amount of funding.’ 

– The Living Wage Funder scheme

The Symondson Foundation routinely gives unrestricted, multi-year grants as a show of faith in the expertise of the organisations we support. We see becoming accredited Living Wage Funders as an extension of our belief that it is vital to value and fund an organisation’s running costs, and as an expression of our support for everyone’s right to earn the Living Wage, particularly those working with the most vulnerable members of our society. 

We will not be discounting potential grantees for not paying the Living Wage. Instead, we will welcome open conversations with current and future grantees, and offer what support we can to them for their journey towards becoming Living Wage Employers. Since the cost of living crisis, we have offered our grantees uplifts to this and the remaining years of their awarded grants. This has included supporting London Youth Choirs in increasing their freelance workers wages, and helping Beyond the Streets meet the increasing costs of their building rental, ensuring they don’t have to divert funds from elsewhere. 

We are still learning how, as funders, we can play our part in ensuring the sector is sustainable, fair, and working for those who most need it to work. We believe that becoming Living Wage Funders is a small step in the right direction.

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