Regional Manager, Yorkshire and the Humber Office.
The CSJ Foundation is opening a Yorkshire office, to gain frontline perspectives from across the region. The office will add to our existing network of offices in the East Midlands, North West, North East and London, and connect the backstreets of Bridlington, Barnsley, and Bradford with the corridors of Westminster.
In February, the CSJ hosted a ‘Big Listen’ event in Leeds, to connect with further charities from across the region, and gain frontline perspectives. The event was attended by over 60 charities, as well as local community funds, media, and businesses. It even featured a speech from local MP Kim Leadbeater, who shared her deeply personal journey into politics, and spoke on the importance of listening to regional voices and communities, and bridging the divide between the reality of people’s lives and Westminster.
Although our ‘Big Listen’ event is only the start of our engagement with organisations across Yorkshire, we have already gained key insights from a range of charities. We would like to thank all attendees for contributing to a truly impactful day. Key themes from the day included;
- Concerns that families were caught in cycles of disadvantage and poverty, and that it was currently difficult to escape this pattern.
- A frustration at statutory services, and a lack of confidence in their effectiveness in supporting those with complex and multi-faceted needs.
- The cost-of-living crisis and the impacts of the pandemic have exacerbated long-standing issues, pushing charities to the edge of their capacity.
- Charities shared frustration at ‘funding for projects’, many are doing amazing work on a day-to-day basis but find it a challenge to gain long-term funding for continuing the work they do.
The ‘Big Listen’ event’s findings will also feed directly into the CSJ’s policy work, including the Social Justice Commission. In 2023 the CSJ announced the ‘Social Justice Commission’, a cross-party review of the state of social justice in the UK today, which will take an unflinching look at what life is like for the UK’s most disadvantaged people. Events such as the ‘Big Listen’ help the CSJ to build a clear picture of barriers to opportunity in the nation’s regions, and how they can be overcome.
The Centre for Social Justice’s 500-strong Alliance of poverty-fighting charities already features outstanding organisations based in Yorkshire. Tempus Novo, a former Centre for Social Justice award winner, is one such organisation. Founded in 2014, Tempus Novo believes employment is key to breaking the cycle of crime and use a personal and bespoke approach to place ex-offenders into employment.
Engaging with organisations such as Tempus Novo allows the CSJ as an organisation to gain an insight into both the systemic problems faced in the nation’s regions, and also the solutions that organisations are effectively using to support the most vulnerable in society. In the UK 64 per cent of offenders re-offend within 2 years of release. Tempus Novo have been able to break the cycle of reoffending for many and have supported 800 people into work since 2014.
Yorkshire was also represented at this year’s CSJ awards, as Lighthouse, based in Hull, were finalists. Lighthouse supports vulnerable women with complex and multifaceted needs. We look forward to visiting them again later this year, and hearing more about the amazing work they are doing.
The Managing Director of the CSJ Foundation, Nathan Gamester, shared his thoughts on the importance of ‘Big Listen’ events and hopes for the Yorkshire office in a column in the Yorkshire Post. Plus a write-up on the event itself can be found here.
We are excited to open our Yorkshire office and build our alliance of quality poverty-fighting charities in the region.