More a new iteration than a step change, the strategy review helped crystalise our strategic framework for 2023-2027 as summarised below.
A B Charitable Trust exists to promote human dignity and defend the human rights of the most marginalised and excluded people. We do this by supporting work that upholds the human rights framework, promotes access to justice for everyone, and uses the law as a tool for social change. We also support work with people who have migrated to the UK, refugees and those seeking asylum, and people caught up in the justice and penal system, as they are some of the groups most marginalised and excluded by society. We recognise that within our priority areas there are people who are especially disadvantaged because of a combination of poverty, stigma, racism, and various forms of discrimination. We continue to think about how we’re currently providing supporting and to who - and to look at what more we can do in future to ensure our funding reaches the most marginalised and excluded groups. We readily support work that can be difficult to fundraise for, and complex causes that may cut across more than one of our three priorities.
We believe in justice not charity. For us, this means taking a rights-based approach and supporting work that promotes rather than diminishes dignity – work that is respectful, acknowledges people’s strengths, and supports them to exercise their own agency. It also means supporting efforts to change the systems that shape the lives of marginalised and excluded people in pernicious ways, rather than just reducing the harmful impacts of what exists. We have a particular interest in work that uses the law to address inequities and injustices at both individual and systemic levels.
We know it’s not easy to change systems. Failures in the justice, penal and migration systems have persisted for many years, despite incredible work by talented and dedicated people in those sectors. Although we don’t think it’s possible to predict how systems change might come about, we think it’s likely to arise from long-term shifts in culture and politics, as well as responses to crises and unforeseen events. While organisations in the sectors where we fund are just one force for change among others, from their work with communities they bring unique insight into the harmful impacts of failing systems, as well as the vision and energy to create better systems for the future.
At A B Charitable Trust, we see our role as supporting a more diverse, equitable, resilient, and confident sector, that is better able to both respond to immediate needs and change the systems we care about. For us this means helping to develop leaders and the sector workforce, supporting the creation of spaces so people can step back and think, contributing to stronger and more stable organisations, and strengthening the sector’s infrastructure so it’s better equipped to act whatever the future holds.
We try to give as much thought to ‘how’ we go about what we do as ‘what’ we want to achieve. Building trusting relationships is fundamental to our approach and we want to develop our role as an ally and bridge builder, being led by the field and working differently with it.
We will continue to be adaptive and responsive, while working towards longer term objectives (e.g., addressing workforce gaps and strengthening infrastructure). We know we are only one player among many, we understand the value of working with others, always keeping in mind where our contribution fits to maximise our effectiveness. We appreciate the scale of the challenges ahead, and we know we have to be realistic about our capacity. Our aim is to model some useful approaches, recognising the intersecting disadvantages of communities that lie at the heart of our purpose.
We will continue to seek feedback, interrogate ourselves, and watch out for blind spots – working all the time to put our partner organisations and the people they work with front and centre of our efforts.