Guest Blog: Daphne Amevenu, Health Foundation
As part of Living Wage Week, The Health Foundation announced their decision to become a Living Wage Friendly Funder – supporting charities to pay the real Living Wage through grant-making. Daphne Amevenu, Programme Manager at the Health Foundation explains why the charity felt it was important to become a Living Wage Friendly Funder.
The Health Foundation is an independent charity aiming to bring about better health and health care for people living in the UK. We work towards this through grant making to people working on the frontline as well as research and policy analysis which contributes to the knowledge base of what makes people healthy and how to improve our health and care system. Many of our grants support projects improving service delivery across a broad range of health and care settings from acute care through to hospices. Each year we make grants totalling about £30 million.
In recent years, we have broadened our policy work regarding how to bring about better health for people living in the UK through building on research about the wider social determinants of health. Earlier this year, we shared a series of infographics covering key social determinants of health including work. We know good work can improve the health and wellbeing of the population. Good work should pay fairly to ensure employees are able to cover their minimum day-to-day living costs. Unfortunately, many people are not experiencing good work. In 2017, millions of people were paid less than the real Living Wage. Having a fair income improves people’s health and wellbeing as it allows them to afford decent housing, buy nutritious food and enable them to do things they enjoy.
The NHS has done great work to raise salaries of all staff through the Agenda for Change salary uplift ensuring that the lowest paid staff are receiving a salary above the real Living Wage rate. However, there is further work to be done in the broader health and care sector and among our grant holders to ensure that organisations we’re funding are thinking about their ability to provide good work for not only their employees but others who are third-party contractors. Some of our grant holders are already Living Wage Eemployers and come from a range of sectors showing that it is possible to achieve this. For example, Redthread, a charity supporting vulnerable young people in crisis, are a Living Wage Employer, as are UCL Hospitals who hold grants for several projects.
We hope that becoming a Living Wage Friendly Funder encourages our current and potential award holders to consider how to increase the salaries of their lower paid staff. We also hope it encourages them to consider becoming a Living Wage Employer. This can have significant impacts when considering the volume of suppliers across the wide range of grant holders we have. It’s important for us to maximise the impact of our funding. It’s a drop in the ocean considering the amount of funding the health and care sector requires. Becoming a Living Wage Friendly Funder will enable our funding to go further than project activities and encourage grant holders and their organisations to think about what their role is in providing good work.