About us - what we do
The Sir Simon Milton Foundation is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales. Our Registered Charity Number is 1174405.
Our Objects. The Foundation’s Objects can be found in our Constitution. Derived from our Objects, our two key strands of work, focused on Westminster, are:
- Supporting disadvantaged younger people, particularly in training and education.
- Supporting older people in need, especially those who are lonely and socially isolated.
To achieve these, the Foundation is committed to developing and fostering programmes in partnership with local organisations, communities and companies for the benefit of the city’s residents.
Our achievements. Now that the pandemic is largely behind us, although its effects will be long lasting, in 2022 we were able to restore the full gamut of our existing charitable programmes. In addition, we took on new programmes in support of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We continued to draw on our reserves to do so, but after a three year gap we were able once again to hold a major fundraising event to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. Our achievements in 2022 include:
- Silver Sunday, the national day for older people, returned to pre-pandemic levels of events with well over 1,000 taking place across the UK during the Silver Sunday period at the beginning of October; some 70 events were held in Westminster alone. These events were attended by tens of thousands of older people and supported by over one hundred organisations, including companies such as Bupa, Sanctuary, Metro Bank and HC-One, the largest care home provider in the country.
- The Westminster Tea Dance was restored to our calendar after a three year break. On 11th December 2022 the Great Room in The Grosvenor House Hotel was buzzing with music, singing and dancing, accompanied by a sumptuous afternoon tea. The event is entirely free to guests and was wonderfully supported by a team of volunteers from Westminster City Council and Metropolitan Police Service Volunteer Police Cadets.
- Against the backdrop of a bleak economic outlook, we continued with our Christmas programme of support to some of the most vulnerable at this time of year:
- We arranged for 800 Christmas hampers to be delivered to the most isolated, disadvantaged and impoverished older people in the city. Five hundred of the hampers were funded by the Victoria BID.
- Some went to carers to recognise what a difficult job so many of them do, and some to the Council care homes, where their delivery was accompanied by Westminster singer, Lucy Clark. This was a highlight for many of the residents.
- The hampers were delivered by wonderful Council volunteers (from ‘Westminster Connects’) and Foundation staff. This extra human contact was very much welcomed by the recipients and the hampers lifted the spirits of so many at a difficult time of year.
- With our partner, the Council, we gave £10k worth of Christmas vouchers to care leavers and families that are in need during the holiday season. We were showered with thanks for making a very hard Christmas just a little bit easier for so many.
- Sir Simon Milton Scholarships are designed to help university students afford to live and eat so that they can study and achieve their potential. We continue to fund five students from low income families at university with these awards. We made one new award for the 2022-2023 Academic Year. We now have 21 Scholarship alumni making their way in the world.
- We are also supporting four students at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, Simon Milton’s alma mater, with Sir Simon Milton Bursaries.
- The Sir Simon Milton Westminster University Technical College (UTC) closed in August 2022. The Year 11 pupils have now all gone to new schools of their choice. Year 13 pupils have all followed individual pathways on to university, vocational training or employment.
- Prior to its closure the Foundation provided grants to the UTC to ensure that the experience of the remaining pupils at the school would be the best it could be at a vulnerable time.
- The successor organisation on the UTC’s Pimlico site, Ada, The National College for Digital Skills, will come to Victoria in September 2023. We are already providing Sir Simon Milton Bursaries to support up to 40 Sixth Form students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition, the bursaries will support other requests for exceptional circumstances, such as offering an enriching extra-curricular trip benefitting up to 75 pupils.
- Students from care backgrounds often face greater financial and emotional pressures without the family support networks that other students have. We are supporting the University of Westminster with Sir Simon Milton Care Leaver Bursaries. The Bursary is awarded to 5 Westminster-based Care Leavers. The purpose of the bursaries is to support these students in their final year and to transition into employment.
- For the first time in three years, we have held a major fundraising event to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. The dinner raised nearly £128,000 which is a welcome addition to our coffers after three lean years.
What we are going to do next
Strategic goals. Our strategic goals are to:
- Promote programmes to help young people to improve their lives.
- Make older people feel valued and reduce isolation and loneliness among them.
- Develop a well-resourced and governed Foundation.
- Create a reputation for improving people’s lives.
Our top level plans over the next five years are to:
- Use our reserves to increase the impact and scale of our existing programmes and, where identified, take on new programmes.
- Seek a national partner for Silver Sunday, while we continue to encourage and support events in Westminster.
- Raise additional funds, while reducing overheads, to sustain the Foundation at this increased level of activity.