The City of London is best known as a global centre for financial and professional services – and rightly so. But it’s not often known how much the City makes a difference to our communities in London and beyond – for example supporting charities and projects tackling disadvantage across London through the City Bridge Trust.

City Bridge Trust can trace its origin back over 800 years to the building of the first stone bridge over the Thames.

For centuries, the City of London Corporation as the Trustee of the Bridge House Estates was only permitted to utilise the income of the fund for expenditure on its bridges, but towards the end of the 20th Century a scheme was set up allowing any surplus monies to be used to support charitable purposes benefiting Greater London. Importantly, this applies only after setting aside adequate provision for the Trust’s primary purpose, which remains the provision and maintenance of the five bridges.

The City Bridge Trust first began awarding grants in September 1995 and since then it has awarded over 7,000 grants totalling £1/3 billion across London.

The majority of these grants are made under the Trust’s Bridging Divides scheme, which has three programmes:

  • Connecting the Capital: Making London’s communities stronger, more resilient and enable them to thrive.
  • Positive Transitions: Work that will enable Londoners experiencing inequality and disadvantage to make important transitions in their lives.
  • Advice and Support: Providing access to good quality advice and support in order to reduce and address inequalities.

These priorities guide the Trust’s vision for London to be a city where all individuals and communities can thrive, especially those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.

The City of London has a proud tradition of philanthropy dating back to the Middle Ages, led by Livery Companies and the Mayorality. This continues today with the City Livery Companies giving over £40 million annually to good causes whilst the City of London Corporation supports charitable giving through City Bridge Trust.

This shows that the City of London is not only a global centre for finanical and professional services providing thousands of jobs, but also a platform to support hundreds of charities and voluntary sector organisations across London each year.