Annual Church Service and Reception 25 Sept:  Save the date
Click here for our rolling calendar or here for City events

NL May 2020


WCoMC is a collegiate forward looking Modern City Livery Company; we maintain City traditions, share expertise and information between fellow members and give back to the community through our pro bono activities.

WCoMC News

Our latest City updates






The Master at the Marketors ... taken before social distancing of course. 



No New Freemen or Liverymen this month but watch out for our first virtual admissions ceremony.









Virtual Wine Tasting


Newsletter Editor:

Website Support:

Issue 66:  May 2020


Our Master's Voice

Life in Lockdown has not slowed down within the Company, and a huge thanks to the very many (and especially the very busy few) who have been involved with developing the new way of being as a Livery Company. It is bringing to the fore all that is the best in our activities around philanthropy, education and fellowship. We are very clear that the Company’s differentiator is to not only support but also to stimulate, challenge and engage our Management Consultancy brains, therefore any events we offer should focus on those outcomes.  A small team investigated the different online meeting tools available and settled on Zoom.  We had the first event in the new format in April.

In May there were three events and five are planned for June.  We’ll be holding our first virtual Court meeting on very soon (2nd June) and by 7th July (previously the date of our summer celebration) we hope to have the confidence to run a virtual admissions ceremony followed by a Companywide social event. Online events are not to everyone’s taste – especially if you are on work related zoom calls all day.  However, particularly to avoid travel or in preference to audio calls, there are some meetings which we will continue in this format in the future.

We have been encouraging the Special Interest Groups to think about online events and keeping in contact through social media.  The Wine Club has risen to the challenge with three wine tasting events open to the Company;  the Music Group have a very active WhatsApp group recommending things to see and hear; and, the Faith Group has organised a debate in June and an online retreat is being planned.  More on events below.

I am always interested to hear what more we could do, so please do let me know. We have also been invited to a number of interesting events from other livery companies and, to save deluging your inboxes even more with emails, we are posting these on our Company’s LinkedIn page. This is a challenging time, and we are each are being challenged in different ways depending on our circumstances.  What is important in life is being brought into sharp focus, and we are very thankful that few of our Members or their loved ones have caught the virus.  

This is not quite the year of Joy that I had envisaged, but we can find joy in what we are able to achieve when we rise to the challenges and opportunities, and support others.

Keep safe.

Denise Fellows, Master

Events Programme

In this short roundup we take stock of events generally:

We’ve been making progress with virtual events during lockdown. It may be obvious, but it is worth saying clearly that the Master and Wardens have confirmed that no in-person events will take place until at least the autumn and that the Summer celebration scheduled for Drapers Hall on 7 July will not take place.  However, the new programme of Zoom events is proving popular.

There are positives about the new norm and we have been delighted that many Members who have not been able to participate recently due to health or distance from London have been able to join in.

Looking ahead we are planning more virtual events, but we are applying some principles in doing so.

  • We want events to be engaging, offering members the chance to interact together during events (even using the Zoom chat button).  That means no webinars.
  • We want events to reflect the main pillars of our strategy.  So, for example,

Fellowship: The second virtual Shoptalk was held on 7 May with over 30 participants.  The format of inviting two newly joined Members to lead the sessions has worked well, and it also helps to engage new Members.  We’ve learned a lot about using Zoom and 3W Bob Harris plans to continue these events at 2-3-week intervals.

Philanthropy: We are planning Pro-bono Committee virtual workshops focused on topics of relevance to those working with charities.  The first was delivered by Mark Salway on 20 May and is reported elsewhere in this edition.  A second on “Effective management of home working” was due to take place on 3rd June, but has had to be postponed. You can book here. Other ideas are in the pipeline.

Education: we're inviting Members to present on “the most interesting consulting project I ever did” covering the client challenge, the methodology used and the outcome; all with the aim of sharing and capturing some knowledge.  The first of these, with Bob Harris, has the intriguing title "How we helped to win the 1997 General Election", and will take place on 17 June.   Book here.  Again, this could become a series, so please let us know if you have a good story to tell.

  • We want to reflect the diverse interests of our Members, so we asked other Committees/groups to organise a virtual session open to the whole Company.  As a result we have the following upcoming events:
  1. from the Wine Club -a series of three virtual wine tastings (the first of which happened on Friday - about 50 people joined in). Click here for more info.
  2. from the Faith group: Reflections on the longer-term impact of Covid-19 And the impact that faith communities can make, on 23 June. Again, click here for more info.  

Looking even further ahead to a time with fewer restrictions, we recognise that a rapid return to what was previously normal is extremely unlikely for many months and for many this may be even longer. The prospects for holding the old style receptions, dinners and other indoor events in the autumn do not look promising, however, we are exploring how we might hold the Annual Service on 17 September for at least a few of us at St James Garlickhythe, and we are starting to consider other ideas for hybrid or outdoor events:  One suggestion was the idea of walking tours of interesting parts of central London and we are sure that there are other creative ways of continuing our events in the new norm. 

We will, of course, keep you posted about our virtual events programme and future developments here and on the website.

Charities in the post Covid-19 world

Mark Salway lead an interesting and engaging event, attended by some 20+ people on 20th May. In a 20-minute presentation Mark introduced a series of charity business models.  These are NOT the standard sort of type categorisation that we might be used to; animal, health, environmental education, arts and culture charities.

He questioned whether Charities understood their business models (a common term in the Commercial but less so in the Charity sector). Instead Mark identified the following distinct “business models”:

  1. Impact driven charities. Such charities focus primarily on the change that they bring about and worry less about money. They focus on outcomes and impact and have thought through processes to assess or measure their impact. They often need real help focusing on the money and developing clearly how this will be paid for.
  2. Income driven charities - are driven by money. They raise funds where and when they can and spend it on their chosen cause. They need help seeing that there is a clear return on investment for fundraising which often constrains their growth.
  3. Goal or strategically focussed charities.  These focus on a long-term goal. Examples include water aid.  In theory such charities make themselves obsolete when the goal has been achieved but in reality, a new goal is often identified.
  4. Advocacy and awareness driven charities.  These charities are all about getting their message heard and being listened to. The risk is that this simply does not happen. How can we as WCoMC help them to have a more powerful voice.
  5. Charities driven by or perhaps limited by their overheads - often making a loss on the services they provide and desperate to get funding to cover their overheads. This is a false typology, because all they do is worry about overheads rather than doing the work.

Mark made some general observations too, as follows:

  • Technology and innovation will change many ways of delivering services with much more being provided online.
  • The current Covid-19 crisis has fast tracked these sorts of transformations and will have a lasting and profound impact on the sector.
  • Similarly the COVID-19 crisis will cause many charities to fail and will prompt rationalisation with more charities seeking to merge and find economies of scale – perhaps in the back office.
  • Charities will drive harder to secure predictable income streams and the crisis provides an opportunity for ambitious innovative charities to shine.
  • Funding organisations (such as the Gates Foundation) are increasingly promoting innovation by allocating grants based on say 20% for innovation and 80% for service delivery.

Password: 5H.@$h09

Pro Bono Round Up

An update of the various initiatives we reported on last month:

Patrick Chapman reports from the ProBono Committee:

The Committee membership comprises: Jeff Cant, Steve Cant, John Corneille, David Glassman, Bob Harris, Andy Miles, David Wreford, Nanette Young and Patrick Chapman (chairman).

In spite of the economic lockdown, or indeed inspired by it, we have had a steady flow of enquiries all of which we have managed to triage and resource where appropriate, alongside our ongoing work with existing clients (impacted of course by the need to work “virtually”).  The most notable new clients include: Sadie Bristow Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Change Please and Art History Link-up.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking so many of our members for volunteering for these new assignments, many volunteering alongside the existing work that they are undertaking.  If ever there was an example of “if you want a job doing, give it to a busy person….”

In parallel, we have resourced an increasing number of requests for mentoring from members of ACEVO (the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations).  It is interesting that we used to have a very strong link with ACEVO which weakened as they built their own self-help model, but now they have returned to us thanks to the work of David Glassman and Nanette Young.

Our Covid-19 crisis work supporting YBI (financial due diligence assessments) and The Fore (grant assessments) is ongoing, under the eyes of Bob Harris and Steve Cant respectively. (See further reports below)

I am also delighted to report that David Wreford has volunteered to lead on the revival of Get to know ProBono (subject to his own commitments to Mercers).  

Bob Harris reports on Youth Business International (YBI)

The pro-bono assignment reported in the last Newsletter whereby we are assisting Youth Business International (YBI) to mobilise their new partnership with Google is now well under way.  To recap, the philanthropic arm of Google has awarded a $5 million grant to YBI to support over 200,000 underserved entrepreneurs in 32 countries in Asia and Europe in responding to the Covid-19 crisis.  A package of emergency support will be provided to business owners through YBI’s global network of members and delivery partners. This includes crisis helplines, targeted advice and signposting, online training through webinars and mentoring.  A team of WCoMC assessors comprising John Corneille, Bob Harris, Jeff Herman, Tom Jenkins, John Pulford and Karol Szlichcinski has so far carried out financial due diligence assessments on potential new delivery partners in Cambodia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and the UK – about halfway through the list of new countries.  Contracts are now being negotiated with the successful partners with in-country delivery about to commence.

Steve Cant reports on THE FORE  

Over the past four weeks I have reviewed 12 grant applications, failed five of them at the initial review stage, progressed 5 to the point of a funding panel and been successful with each of them. That’s a 100% strike rate and £25,000 secured 5 five different charities. The most rewarding parts of acting as a consultant grant assessor are being able to help people and their charities frame their cases, and, of course, being able to tell them the good news.  I’ve got another dozen to do I think.  Here are a couple of heartwarming reactions from successful applicants.  

Mayor’s Fund for London:

Last year the Company’s Charitable Fund made a grant of £13,500 to the Mayor’s  Fund for London (a social mobility charity set up by then Mayor for London Boris Johnson) to consolidate and develop its CRM system to encompass its multiple databases of partner and beneficiary organisations in London.  David Jefferson also provided pro-bono expertise on CRM throughout the design and implementation programme.  We recently received a very positive communication from the client lead at MFL:

It is always pleasing to receive such positive feedback from our pro-bono clients.

Review of the Charitable Fund

As previously advised, this review is being carried out by Geoff Berridge and 2W Steve Cant. After a period of preparation and planning interviews have begun and will continue well into June 2020, all using Zoom.   From the interviews so far, we have gained some valuable historical perspectives, some challenges to the status quo and some new ideas. All the trustees of the charitable fund will be interviewed together with a sample of members ranging from a couple of Past Masters to some new joiners.  A further update will appear in issue 67.  

Get To Know Valentina Lorenzon - a series of firsts

Valentina was elected, in September 2018, to the role of Junior Liveryman within our Company. She was the first Junior Freeman.   Now she’s moving up to full Freeman status, so she’s also the first “graduate” junior freeman! She will be moving up on 7th July when we will be having our first virtual Admission’s Ceremony.

Valentina focusses her professional efforts on the family business sector and recently explained that in more detail at a Shop Talk session.  (Ed: I think was the second virtual Shoptalk to be fair).  She specialises in multigenerational planning and next-gen engagement.  For the last 15 years she has been working both within her own family business based in Italy and with clients all over Europe.

Valentina has been mentored during her time with the Company by Nanette Young who recommended Valentina for a scholarship.  Guess what!  Valentina is now the 2020 recipient of a partial Scholarship for the FFI Global Education Network (GEN) Certificate Program. The Family Firm Institute (FFI) is the leading association worldwide for family enterprise professionals and the scholarship is for next-gen professionals wanting to specialise on the family business sector.

Congratulations Valentina!

Here are Valentina’s own thoughts on Scholarships, Continuous development and Mentoring:

Scrub Hub

News has reached me from opposite ends of the country about wives / partners with sewing skills that have turned their hands to the prodigious production of scrubs for NHS staff who are struggling to get them during this crisis. The ScrubHub nationwide initiative started out in Hackney and was picked up by many local groups including the WI.  In Essex, Cathy Cant worked with a group who went under the name “Sewfragettes”. Felicity Lacey was a volunteer for the North Cotswold NHS Sewing Support Group. Both were making full sets of scrubs to order.

Nationwide, the ScrubHub network includes well over 100 voluntary community groups who love to sew.  At a rough estimate they have produced > 10,000 set of scrubs. The photos below show Felicity Lacey's finished scrubs, Cathy Cant's lounge turned into a workshop, and examples of the flamboyant scrubs – all produced from donated fabric – mainly bedding. Congratulations ladies, on a fine effort. 

And finally...

Thank you for reading this far. Don't forget to add your "human interest" stories to LinkedIn and to let me have your  stories about how we're making a difference during the crisis. Stay safe.

Steve Cant


This newsletter is produced by the WCoMC Communications Group. Please let us know if you have any items to include in relation to any topics that come to mind! The opinions expressed in this newsletter represent those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Company.
​WCoMC is a Chartered Charitable Organisation (Privy Council Reference C877) and a Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (Company No. RC000819).