Lord Fink is a former treasurer of the Conservative Party. He is a former hedge fund manager and is a trustee of The Mayor’s Fund for London.
London is a great city. But it can be greater. Despite all of the wealth we create and success we breed, there are youngsters out there that particularly need our help.
The young are our future. The next generations are the leaders of tomorrow. We need to make sure each and everyone of them are granted the opportunities to fulfill their potential – for their sake and for the sake of our fantastic capital city. Hence Penny for London – and City Giving Day.
City Giving Day shows that the City cares about playing a holistic and socially positive role in society. We want to help those that need it most. Today and throughout this week we are demonstrating this.
Amongst the day’s activity, groups of volunteers will be walking the streets signing people up to Penny for London, the scheme devised by The Mayor’s Fund for London (for which I am a trustee) and launched by Boris Johnson last year. It enables Londoners to make micro donations using contactless cards every time they travel on the tube or bus or shop in a retailer like Caffè Nero or Leon.
Why is this significant? Because the charity sector is losing out in the new technological age. No longer does it reap huge revenues from loose change in collection tins, as we are all using debit and credit cards for even the tiniest of transactions.
Penny for London changes the game. It is not only making a huge difference to the lives of young people in London for whom the threat of poverty is ever present – it can save the charity sector, too. The Mayor’s Fund for London will be a major beneficiary and will use the money for a series of interventions mainly designed to get young Londoners into decent jobs – because employment is the long term way to break the cycle of poverty.
The first £30,000 generated by Penny for London was awarded in the summer to ten charities across London working with disadvantaged young people.
One thousand youngsters have benefited. And if just one-in-ten of us gave a penny every time we travelled on the tube, the scheme would raise a staggering £25million per year.
But more than this, the new groundbreaking technology developed by our partner Barclaycard can be exported. It could be used in Manchester, Birmingham, Sydney or Los Angeles. It could raise money for a whole range of causes. And it’s all so easy.
For now, it is only available in London. And our aim is to get as many Londoners signed up to it as possible.
You can choose how much to donate per day. This could be 1p or 10p. You can cap your monthly spend. You can even get a free coffee and a buy one get one free lunch if you register. What is not to like?
London is a fantastic city. It remains the financial capital of the world. On Wednesday, we want to demonstrate that we are also the charity capital of the world. This is a world first – let’s make it work.
If you see one of our volunteers, please give them ten seconds of your time and sign up. If you don’t, you can sign up quickly and easily by going to www.pennyforlondon.com
If enough of us take this very small step, we can transform the lives of London’s children, secure our city’s future and strengthen the charity sector while we’re at it.