Lord Mayor’s Easter Message to the Livery
I last wrote to you on 26th March regarding the unfortunate but necessary cancellation of my banquet for the Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff. This bulletin will be the first of what I hope will be regular updates from me to the Livery during these challenging times, which sadly are making it more difficult for us to meet and to communicate in person.
I sincerely hope that this message finds you safe and well despite the significant disruption we are facing to our own lives and the lives of the Livery Companies to which we belong. Like many of us, these last few weeks have seen me adapting to a new way of working and for the time being I am based at home in Cambridgeshire. Although my usual programme of overseas visits and domestic events has been suspended, the Corporation is working hard to maintain business as usual, both in its capacity as a local authority but also in its role as a global champion for UK financial and professional services, as important now as ever. As well as supporting our communities and businesses, our priority is to maintain confidence in the City and hasten the relaunch of a strong economy. We believe that the resilience and agility of the financial and professional services industry will be central to the long-term economic recovery, both in the UK and globally.
Since I last wrote to you the seriousness and scale of the current COVID-19 crisis has become even more starkly apparent. Times like these call upon all of us to seek to make a difference, and I believe that we will be judged for many years to come on the basis of our contribution. I am conscious of the role that we in the Livery must play in responding to this situation, and indeed, many people have approached me to ask what the Livery – individually and collectively – is doing. The Livery represents a fantastic network of men and women who are the custodians of a tradition of fellowship, entrepreneurial spirit and support for the vulnerable. The current circumstances present us with an opportunity – and, I would say, an obligation – to demonstrate the social value of the Livery in a new way. We must all do as much as we can.
So many of you are already doing so much. I have been hearing some wonderful examples of how Companies are seeking to make an impact, and I would like to use my office of Lord Mayor and these bulletins as a portal for ideas, to shine a spotlight on what we in the Livery are doing and to encourage further individual and collective activity.
It seems to me that the activities already shared with me fall into four broad categories:
• Mobilising our Trades and Professions
Companies have been using their convening power, their membership and their networks in their trades and professions to find imaginative ways to respond to the demands of the crisis, whether it is the development and production of new medical ventilators for hospitals, or interventions to support industries – such as the hospitality trade – which have been struck particularly hard by the lockdown.
• Supporting Charities
Companies are continuing to support their existing charities as well as increasing their funding to others. It is particularly heartening to see that some Companies have become signatories to the London Funders COVID-19 Statement. The statement, which requires no further financial commitment, enables grant-giving organisations to reassure beneficiaries that funders commit to being flexible, adaptive and imaginative at this incredibly challenging time for the charities and communities reliant upon their support. It would send an impressive message of solidarity from the Livery if all 110 Companies could sign up to the statement and I would urge all Livery Companies to consider
doing so via London Funders
• Supporting and delivering Education
Many companies are working directly with their own schools as well as new ones. The City of London Education Board, with the help of the Livery, is looking at a range of options for additional support, including a proposal to supply technology to schools and colleges across London to facilitate virtual learning at home during the school shutdown.
• Deploying the Livery’s physical assets and human resources
A group of companies with halls are looking at re-focusing their caterers to provide meals to London hospitals. Others with connections to transport are using their membership to facilitate deliveries. With such a diversity of skills and facilities at the disposal of the collective Livery, there will be many such ways that Companies, drawing on their own
areas of expertise, can make a difference, however small, as part of a larger effort. (Companies wishing to learn more about the scheme to provide catering support to hospitals may contact the Clerk to the Drapers).
There will be other efforts of which I am not yet aware and I would be delighted to hear about them. Can I therefore recommend that if you have ideas or projects that you would like to share you can send them to me and my team via LMProgOffice@cityoflondon.gov.uk We will then be able to consolidate the information and share it more broadly, so that all 30,000 liverymen can be confident of the part that the Livery is playing. I look forward to hearing from you, and to being able to share some amazing stories when I am next asked what the Livery is doing to help in these challenging times.
I am sure I was not alone in being moved and inspired by the address made by HM The Queen on Sunday evening. Her Majesty’s message urging determination, fellow-feeling and resilience is one that can very readily be taken up by all of us in the Livery. Like The Queen, I am also confident that we will meet again when this is over.
In the meantime, I hope that you are all staying safe, looking after yourselves and each other, and following the guidance of Public Health England. I would encourage you to keep up to date with me and with the City of London
through our social media accounts on Twitter – @citylordmayor and @cityoflondon
With every good wish for a happy, hopeful and restorative Easter from me and the Lady Mayoress.
Alderman William Russell
The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor’s Easter message to the Livery ((PDF))
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