Paige Murphy from the East End Community Foundation: ‘Our goal is to become the go-to place for philanthropy’

Paige Murphy

Paige Murphy - Credit: Paige Murphy

Paige Murphy helps distribute cash to grass-roots organisations and charities in Hackney and the East End. She spoke to Emma Bartholomew.

Growing up, Paige Murphy’s life goal was to join the police force – “probably because I watch too much of The Bill”.

But a stint volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa eight years ago, saving penguins and rehabilitating them into the wild, changed all that.

“Being exposed to people’s passion to help and make a change opened my eyes to the charity sector, and being able to establish a career where you are able to have a positive impact,” she said.

Now Paige, 33, is head of grants at the East End Community Foundation (EECF), issuing nearly £1million annually to charities in Hackney as well as neighbouring Tower Hamlets and Newham.

Paige, who grew up in Reading, has lived in all those boroughs over the past decade. Clapton was her home until November.

EECF, a “philanthropy advisor” and grant maker, has been funding grass-roots organisations and increasing opportunities for 25 years.

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A “Hackney Fund” established three years ago has since received £490,000. Hackney Giving is one recipient here, supporting over 50 projects since its launch in February 2014 – including therapeutic project St Mary’s Secret Garden, and kids’ performing arts group Hackney Shed.

Paige said: “There are some amazing innovative projects that are addressing social needs in the borough and responding to the changes that are going on, like regeneration. There are new members of the community moving in, and a lot of the projects are looking at cohesion and bringing people in the community together, and tackling issues of wellbeing.

“Our goal is to become the go-to place for philanthropy in the East End. We want to raise more funding to support organisations and to improve outcomes for local people.”

The group has seen an increase in applications for funding in the past year. “We have definitely seen the impact of the reduction in budgets in the borough,” said Paige. “Lots of organisations are feeling the strain.

“But one thing is that it has enabled organisations to do is look at different ways of doing things. They are having to adapt to that environment.”