An open letter to the Prime Minister

Date Posted: Monday 23rd March 2020

Saturday 21st March 2020

Dear Prime Minister,

We write to you now, at the most pressing and urgent time within our living memories and with our responsibilities as frontline and supporting Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Our service users are amongst the poorest and least heard, many living hand to mouth and just about managing. The impact of the Coronavirus on the economy and social infrastructure is set to threaten these people with destitution, hunger and homelessness if not death, and that includes their children.

As you are aware those that are in insecure employment, self-employed, working in the care sector and other industries will be particularly vulnerable to the impact on the economy of the virus and we urge you to take remedial action to ensure basic income is provided to all.

In addition, women are predicted to bear the brunt of the downward spiral of our economy because they are over represented amongst particularly at risk parts of the workforce. It is also acknowledged that domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence will reach unprecedented numbers, with predictions estimating a rise of two to threefold.

Our Civil Society sector is at the forefront of supporting those in most need and working at double the pace to ensure transition to working from home for our staff is completed efficiently and effectively so that those who depend upon us are not left without a safety net.

Our CSOs are reporting immense strain, operationally and financially. We urge you to make available immediately, emergency funds for our sector to shore up our work and ensure local vulnerable families and communities do not lose the only safety net many of them have.

We commend the recently announced emergency fund in London and we need you, our Prime Minister, to do this too.

We are at the service of the poorest and most in need people in our country and we must be included in the emergency measures taken so that millions of Britons are not forgotten at this time of national emergency.

We appreciate that like the rest of our population, Parliamentarians are too under enormous pressure, and we understand that the current and ensuing emergency requires a whole country approach if we are to avoid disastrous and long lasting negative consequences.

We ask that you meet with us, by whatever appropriate means given the need for social distancing, to discuss how to implement a community emergency rescue plan for our local specialist civil society organisations.

Yours sincerely,

Vivienne Hayes MBE, Women’s Resource Centre

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor (London), Policing and Crime

Baljit Banga, Imkaan

Dr Mary Ann Stephenson, Women’s Budget Group

Debra Allcock Tyler, Directory of Social Change

Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust

Tebussum Rashid, Black Training and Enterprise Group

Jo Todd, Respect

Eleanor Lisney, Sisters of Frida

Rose Ssali, SAWN & Mama Health and Poverty Partnership

Stef Martinsen, Barker Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre

Rosie Lewis, Angelou Centre

Cherifa Atoussi, Account 3

Toni Meredew, Women’s Development Trust

Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Surviving Economic Abuse

Nicki Norman, Women’s Aid Federation of England

Karen Ingala Smith, nia

Dawn Jeffery, Welsh Women’s Aid

Gurpreet Virdee, Women and Girls Network

Shani Lee, London VAWG Consortium

Heidi Riedel, Woman’s Trust

Sawsan Salim Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation

Tracey Ford, JAGS

Sarah Hughes, Women’s Homelessness Expert

Nina Kelly, Strategic Communications Consultant

Beatrix Campbell OBE, Writer and Broadcaster

Judith Jones

Eddie Lockhart, LGBT Community Organiser

Guy Shone, Explain the Market and Broadcaster

Sara Kirkpatrick, Respect

Amrit Wilson, Feminist Activist and Writer

Gita Sahgal, Human Rights Advocate

Ranjit Kaur, Women’s Rights Campaigner and Author

Annette Lawson, OBE Judith Trust and NAWO

Kathleen Moss, ACMA, CGMA

Jonathan Cooper OBE, Barrister

Alex Delaney, ROSA the UK fund for Women and Girls

Helen Cylwik

Caroline Macdonald, OggaDoon PR and Media, West of England LEP Low Carbon Sector Group

Dr Sue Robson, Women’s Rights Activist

Cris McCurley, Lawyer and Partner Ben Hoare Bell

Professor Aisha Gill, EVAW and Professor of Criminology University of Roehampton

Professor Rosie Campbell, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and Professor of Politics Kings College

Dr Leonie Maria Tanczer, International Security and Emerging Technologies, Department of STeaPD UCL

Dr Fiona Vera-Gray, Assistant Professor Department of Sociology Durham University

Yvonne Field, Ubele

Kate Paradine, Women In Prison

Lisa Johnson, Women’s Aid Federation of England

Donna Covey CBE, AVA

Gisela Valle, Latin American Women’s Rights Service

Rena Sodhi, London Black Women’s Project

Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society