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NEWS: Small charities embrace the real Living Wage

Celebrating Small Charity Week (19-23 June), Samantha Lane, artistic director of the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, said:

"Paying the London Living Wage is a badge of honour that attracts funding. We are only eligible for certain pots of funding if we pay the London Living Wage. It is important for us, as a charity and as an organisation committed to working with our local community, to do our bit to address the equality gap that exists in our community by making a firm commitment to paying the London Living Wage.  There are many assumptions made about small charities and fringe theatres – about paying badly or exploiting employees – but by paying the London Living Wage we negate those assumptions."

Little Angel Theatre is one of a record number of charities that are now accredited Living Wage employers. Major grant-makers are increasingly signing up as Living Wage Friendly Funders, making sure their grants can provide Living Wages for employees.

Living Wage Foundation director, Katherine Chapman said:

"This week is Small Charity Week, and what better way to celebrate than to see more charities taking action to tackle in-work poverty by paying a real Living Wage based on the cost of living. We’ve recently seen a groundswell in support for responsible pay in the charity sector, with more charities signing up to go Living Wage than ever before. Grant-makers are leading the way with 27 Friendly Funders enabling fair pay by funding posts at the Living Wage rate. The Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, City Bridge Trust and Lloyds Bank Foundation have all signed up as Living Wage Friendly Funders, with more joining in every day."

John Hume, Chief Executive, People’s Health Trust and Chair of the Living Wage Friendly Funders Committee, said:

"Living Wage Friendly Funders support charities to pay the real Living Wage that meets the cost of living, through their grant-making. We want to see the Living Wage become the norm, and believe that funding organisations can lead the way in making this happen within the Voluntary Sector."

So far, 1,041 third sector organisations have chosen to take up Living Wage accreditation – ranging from major household names including Oxfam, Save the Children and Macmillan Cancer Support, to small local projects serving communities right across the UK.

Three hundred and sixty-four (or 35%) of these organisations employ fewer than ten people, and 794 (76%) of them employ fewer than 50, showing that the Living Wage commitment is possible for small charitable organisations.

Samantha Lane said paying the London Living Wage directly affects the Little Angel Theatre’s casual workforce and acts as a benchmark for the lowest salaries in the organisation.

She said:

"It sets the tone for the whole organisation.  People are happy and proud to work for an organisation that has made a commitment to fair pay, and this rubs off on the rest of the staff team who are proud to talk about it. It also helps us to retain staff.  The theatre has the same Front of House team since introducing London Living Wage in 2015 (plus some temporary additions). The same technicians also regularly return to work at the theatre."

By becoming Living Wage accredited, charities ensure that everyone working for them - regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff - receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.45 in the UK or £9.75 in London. Both these rates are significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £7.50 per hour introduced in April 2017.

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the real costs of living.

The Living Wage Friendly Funder scheme is kindly supported by the People’s Health Trust and launched in June 2015.

Together the 27 Living Wage Friendly Funders give out almost 19,000 grants and £806 million of charity sector funding.

20th June 2017
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