I am very proud to announce the launch of the Centre for Social Justice Foundation, a new organisation to promote the essential contribution of front-line charities and social enterprises, amplify their voice in the corridors of power, and help strengthen their delivery.
I believe that The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has changed the landscape of our political discourse by putting social justice at the heart of British politics. Our work has consistently led to a transformation in government thinking and policy. Our aim for the CSJ Foundation is to take this to another level. Small, front-line charities are the unsung heroes of the pandemic, but they have also been the hardest hit. We will bring their brilliance to the attention of Westminster policy makers, and along the way, provide a platform for philanthropists to identify and support their work.
We have a long association with charities across the UK. The CSJ was originally created in 2004 following the visit of our founder, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, to the Easterhouse Estate in Glasgow where he saw the power of the community work being done there. Since then, we have looked to frontline organisations as the innovators in anti-poverty programmes with real impact. Indeed, my own association with the CSJ came because the small charity I co-founded won an award. Today, we have an alliance of 400 charities, and the CSJ Foundation is the next step in our work to bring real life, proven impact, often way beyond the boundaries of the Westminster bubble, into the corridors of power.
Covid has wreaked havoc on many locally based, smaller charities at the frontline of the struggle against poverty and deprivation. In a recent CSJ poll, 60 per cent of people said that volunteer groups for helping the vulnerable were necessary for their community to thrive. But despite providing a range of essential services during the pandemic, many have seen their income plummet, their staff and volunteers fall away and the threat of temporary or permanent closure. This is all in a context where Charitable funding and influence in the UK are heavily skewed towards the London-based mega charities. Over 85 per cent of all charitable income goes to fewer than 5 per cent of charities.
This huge gulf has inspired us to set up the CSJ Foundation. We know that these organisations are often unheard and underfunded. Our new foundation will make the case for forgotten regions, showcasing their innovations and successes, and directing much-needed funding to small, poverty-fighting charities across the UK. We have already set up local offices in the North West and East Midlands, and have plans to also open in Scotland, the North East and East Anglia.
We are launching the CSJ Foundation at a special event in Westminster. I am delighted that we are being joined by a number of prominent political and media figures such as Nadhim Zahawi, Victoria Atkins, Alex Burghart, Robert Halfon, Robert Buckland, Matt Hancock, Stephen Timms, Carolyn Harris, and Tim Farron, and headlined by Sir Iain. We will also be celebrating the 2020 and 2021 CSJ Charity Awards winners, who were not able to receive their awards in person due to pandemic restrictions.