Power to Change signs up to become Living Wage Funder

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The charitable trust will offer top-ups to ensure all grants cover the Real Living Wage, and help community businesses to become Living Wage Employers.
11 Feb, 2020

Power to Change, the charitable trust which supports community businesses across England, has today been recognised as a Living Wage Funder by the Living Wage Foundation. Already an accredited Living Wage Employer, the trust now wants to go a step further and support its grantees to work towards ending low pay by joining the Living Wage Foundation’s Funder programme.

Power to Change joins 52 Living Wage Funders including People’s Health Trust, National Lottery Community Fund, Lloyds Bank Foundation and Comic Relief. From now on, Power to Change will uplift any grants that cover salaries to the real Living Wage Rates set by the Living Wage Foundation (£9.30 outside of London, £10.75 in London), in order to ensure those salaries are paid a wage that reflects the rising cost of living.

The trust will also work with the Living Wage Foundation and partners at Locality, Plunkett, Cooperatives UK and the School for Social Entrepreneurs to create the first toolkits specifically to help businesses and charities in the social sector overcome challenges to implementing the Living Wage.

Vidhya Alakeson, Power to Change Chief Executive, said: “Community businesses are doing invaluable work to help tackle some of the country’s biggest challenges, working from the bottom up. By becoming a Living Wage Funder, we are seizing the opportunity to support as many of this country’s 9,000 community businesses as possible to improve the pay of their staff and work towards becoming accredited Living Wage Employers. With 33,600 people employed by community businesses, this can make a difference to a lot of people’s lives, enhancing the positive impact of community businesses on local people and place.”

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “We are delighted to recognise Power to Change as a Living Wage Funder. They’ve shown true leadership and a commitment to tackle the corrosive effects low pay has on individuals, businesses and communities. Those in the voluntary and community sectors work hard every day to tackle societal challenges and poverty; it’s only right that they are afforded at least a Living Wage. We hope to see many more funders and corporates follow the lead of Power to Change and the other Living Wage Funders.”

Several community businesses across England are already Living Wage accredited. Stretford Public Hall, a multipurpose venue on the outskirts of Manchester, is one of them. Kate McGeevor, Centre Manager, said: “We are really pleased to have recently become an accredited Living Wage Employer. We had always tried to pay all employees the Real Living Wage but the accreditation process helped to formalise this and commits us to annual reviews of salaries. We felt it was important to ensure we are always paying everyone a fair salary that reflects the increasing cost of living.”

Anji Barker, who runs community hub Newbiggin House in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, added: “As a charity we believe that the current minimum wage does not allow people to live an abundant life. We became a Living Wage Employer working towards a fairer and les exploitative system of financial inclusion. We don’t want to be guilty of paying our valuable community members a wage that we don’t believe is liveable on.”

Any community businesses who would like to speak to Power to Change about the living wage can contact matt.fazal@www.powertochange.org.uk

About Power to Change

Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector owns assets worth £890m, and comprises 9,000 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2019)

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

www.powertochange.org.uk @peoplesbiz

For more information please contact: Alex Valk 07384 812777 alexandra.valk@www.powertochange.org.uk

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

About the real Living Wage

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to what people need to make ends meet. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that choose to take a stand by ensuring their staff earn a wage that meets the costs and pressures they face in their everyday lives.

The UK Living Wage is currently £9.30 per hour. There is a separate London Living Wage rate of £10.75 per hour to reflect the higher costs of transport, childcare and housing in the capital. These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in London and the UK.

The Living Wage Foundation is the organisation at the heart of the movement of businesses, organisations and individuals who campaign for the simple idea that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. The Living Wage Foundation receives guidance and advice from the Living Wage Advisory Council. The Foundation is supported by our principal partners: Aviva; IKEA; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; KPMG; Linklaters; Nationwide; Nestle; Resolution Foundation; Oxfam; Trust for London; People’s Health Trust; and Queen Mary University of London.

What about the Government’s national living wage?

In July 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government would introduce a compulsory ‘national living wage’. This new government rate is a new minimum wage rate for staff over 25 years old. It was introduced in April 2016 and the rate is £8.21 per hour as of April 2019. The rate is different to the Living Wage rates calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.  The government rate is based on median earnings while the Living Wage Foundation rates are calculated according to the cost of living in London and the UK.

Living Wage Funders

Living Wage Funders are funders or grant-makers who champion the Living Wage by enabling and supporting their grantees to pay the real Living Wage both in posts they fund and throughout their organisation.

In 2017 the Living Wage Foundation carried out research into the extent of low pay in the charity sector and, in consultation with the sector, developed an action plan to tackle it. It found that we needed funders, government commissioners and charities to work together to challenge the race to the bottom and pay staff delivering vital services fairly.

The network of 53 Living Wage Funders working to end low pay in the third sector includes National Lottery Community Fund, Comic Relief, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Lloyds Bank Foundation, People’s Health Trust and Croydon Council.