Charities urged to ramp up their campaigning of metro mayors

Charities tackling homelessness, mental health issues and domestic abuse are advised to bolster their lobbying of metropolitan mayors, according to New Philanthropy Capital.

Voluntary sector leaders “are used to working with local authorities and with national governments”, said NPC head of policy and external affairs Leah Davis.

But she points out that England’s eight metro mayors, who were elected last week, offer a valuable group of decision makers to target for campaigning.

Davis says that with many mayors already in post for four years “it is becoming clearer how charities can work” with them.

This is particularly the case amid Covid-19 recovery as many incumbent mayors had started to “recognise the role charities play in building stronger communities”.

She also notes that six of the eight elected metropolitan mayors are Labour.

Homelessness has emerged as a key issue for mayors. This was an issue for all elected mayors in the manifestos. Labour mayors, Greater Manchester’s Andy
Burnham and West Yorkshire’s first mayor, Tracy Brabin, in particular, are committed to producing homelessness reduction plans, she points out.

Meanwhile, Burnham, as well as West Midlands’ Conservative mayor Andy Street and Liverpool City Region’s Labour mayor Steve Rotheram have spoken about supporting those with mental health issues impacted by the pandemic.

London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan and Brabin “both included measures to tackle violence against women in their manifestos”, adds Davis.

“Arguably the greatest recognition of charities came from those mayors who had seen how charities and volunteers responded to the pandemic; rapidly organising themselves and their services to get support to people who needed housing, food packages, mental health care and much more,” said Davis.

She added: “For charities in areas where metro mayors are committed to supporting them or their causes, there is an opportunity for charities to be a part of that region’s social recovery.

"But charities can’t be complacent. It is important they maintain the momentum from their Covid-19 response, continuing to show how they can respond rapidly and flexibly when there is the right support from government."

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