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Living Wage Week starts on 11 November and this year the Living Wage Foundation will be celebrating their 50th Living Wage Funder, Wellcome Trust.

In 2015, the Trust helped found the Living Wage Funders scheme to help end low pay in the voluntary and community sector.

Low pay is widespread endemic in the charity sector, with women, young people, part time and minority ethnic and refugee workers particularly affected.

This is of particular concern to the Trust because work which pays a living wage is one of the conditions of good health. Conversely, low pay is a major factor in why people in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods die younger than in most affluent areas (eight years in England and Wales and up to 13 years in Scotland).

The Living Wage Funders scheme enables funders to support their funded partners to pay the real Living Wage. Through the scheme, funders encourage their funded partners to cost up applications to cover the Living Wage, express their support of funded partners paying their staff fairly, and support them to become a Living Wage Employer as best practice.

In 2017, the Trust supported the development of the ‘Low Pay in the Charity Sector’ report. This highlighted that a quarter of charity sector workers (26.2%) are not being paid enough to live off as they do not receive the real Living Wage.

Following its publication, the Trust led the development of the Action Plan to address sector low pay. The Action Plan has subsequently formed the basis of the Living Wage Funders strategy, which ensures that increasing low pay for the most marginalised people in the sector will be prioritised. The Trust has also supported the creation and development of the Living Wage Funders Committee, which is chaired by Chief Executive, John Hume.

Lucy Bannister, Programme Manager of Living Wage Funders at the Living Wage Foundation, said “Living Wage Week is our annual celebration of our network of employers and campaigners who believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. We will be announcing the new rates which will see hundreds of thousands of workers get a pay rise thanks to our nearly 6,000 Living Wage Employers who are choosing to go further than the government’s minimum. Celebrating our 50th Living Wage Funder is a major milestone for a scheme that has had a huge impact on tackling low pay in the third sector and we would like to share our thanks to People’s Health Trust for their support to this vital scheme.”

John Hume, Chief Executive of People’s Health Trust said "Announcing the 50th Living Wage Funder is a fantastic way to celebrate Living Wage Week. The impact of this is significant: it means that 50 of the largest grant givers in the UK have decided to do the right thing by ensuring that everyone they fund is paid the real Living Wage. Charity wages remain the lowest of all sectors and women, minority ethnic workers, part-time workers and young people are disproportionately negatively affected by the low wage culture. Funders are a key part of resolving low wages as the source of much of the money which is paid in wages: it is truly heartening to see so many of them taking a moral stand for our fellow colleagues in the sector."

As part of Living Wage Week, the Living Wage Foundation have announced Wellcome Trust as the 50th Living Wage Funder. Wellcome Trust fund vital research in science and health, including education which remains a challenging sub-sector for low pay. Their commitment will see them ask that all grantees cost up any application for salaries at least the real Living Wage, offering support and guidance where this is a struggle.

In these video clips, Rehana Begum, Centre Manager for Aspire and Succeed, talks about the positive impact the Living Wage has had on her life. Aspire & Succeed supports the Local Conversation in Lozells, Birmingham, and is funded by the Trust using money raised by Health Lottery West Midlands.

Hear more from Rehana about the positive impact of the Living Wage in this second clip.

To find out more about the Living Wage Funders scheme, click here.

To read more news from the Trust, click here.

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