Funder Plus: the first Habs Charities’ Round Table


As part of our commitment to be more than just a funder, representatives from ten charities were invited to take part in an informal Round Table discussion. The aim was to create a safe, open and collaborative space when concerns and celebrations could be shared.



Being the CEO of a small charity can be an extremely lonely and challenging place. Without the infrastructure of a larger organisation, on any given day you may be making hefty strategic decisions about future direction or sticking stamps on envelopes for a fundraising mailing.

The Charities Committee deliberately selects small-medium charities to receive funding from the Company’s grant-making foundations. With only modest funds available for distribution at the discretion of the Committee it is prudent to award them to those charities for whom a small grant of £3,000 will make as much impact as possible.

For those in leadership positions at small charities, a grant of £3,000 is welcome income (especially as our charities can use it for core costs such as salaries). But the Company has far more to offer, through the professional resources of our staff and members.

Members of the Livery Ed Walker and John Griffiths have both worked in the charity sector for many years. They both volunteered their time to help the group work through an Action Learning exercise and take a look at an Organisational Self-Assessment tool.

‘It was superb! It was great to connect with other small charity leaders and to now have a supportive network to tap into. I'm really looking forward to the next event and building fruitful relationships with others in the group’. Charlotte, CEO, Southside Young Leader’s Academy (Southwark)

Many of the issues expressed by the group centred around staffing (including the mental health and wellbeing of their teams) and managing charities in a challenging financial climate. The Round Table could never solve those issues – nor was it designed to do so. But by creating the space for dialogue and conversation, in a safe and confidential setting, participants left feeling heard and supported.

‘It was genuinely revitalising and the communal spirit of solidarity from the group, and the facilitation which helped create that, felt so supportive. I left re-energised’. Mike, CEO and Co-founder, Free to be Kids (Lewisham)

It was the participants that requested the Round Table be repeated at fairly regular intervals, reflecting the value they placed in taking time out of their busy schedules to convene and collaborate. With the level of experience and expertise in the room there were useful insights and reflections from across the group.

‘Thank you so such an encouraging and informative session. My cup has certainly been restored and equipped for the tasks that lay ahead. Until next quarter!’ Winnie, Director of Engagement & Influence, South London Mission/Brite Box (Southwark)

 ‘Just as you did by taking the incredibly thoughtful step of topping up our grant in May in light of the cost-of-living challenges, you taking the time and effort to put together such a thoughtful programme telegraphs to us at Adult Literacy Trust, as I'm sure it does to all of your recipients, the strong ethos of the Company to act in the best interest of your charity community, and to engage not on a transactional level but on more meaningful one -- something this is exceedingly rare amongst donors. I'm sure you would have understood that, with the group asking that we come together like this more regularly, under the aegis of the Haberdashers' Company, this is about as clear and ringing an endorsement of the approach, and the value we see in it, as possible’. Robert, Chair, Adult Literacy Trust (Hackney and Southwark)