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Charities Aid Foundation


22 September 2017

The next step on our party conference tour sees us heading to Brighton, where a resurgent Labour Party is holding their annual get-together. Earlier in the year, with the Labour Party languishing at the polls at levels not seen since the Gordon Brown years, it would be a brave person who would have stated with certainty that Jeremy Corbyn would still be leader at this point.

However, the snap general election offered him a chance, whicth he grabbed with both hands. After years serving on the backbenches and working to challenge governments, Corbyn is nothing if not an experienced campaigner, and he showed that during the campaign as he mobilised support and turned the political narrative on its head. However, much of politics is about expectations; although Corbyn’s Labour Party vastly outperformed predictions from pollsters and pundits alike, the party remains with only a handful more MPs than it did after defeats in 1992 and 2010.

Regardless, noises from all wings of the Labour Party suggest that it is more unified than in recent years, with even those hostile to Corbyn coming to terms with the fact that he – or at the very least his brand of politics– looks set to lead the party until the next general election.

The election caused much mayhem across the political world, with one understated effect being the impact it had on the policy making process. As political parties typically tend to start developing manifestos in earnest about two years ahead of an election, the poll earlier this year took place before many policymakers had picked up the pen, let alone dotted the ‘i’s’ and crossed the ‘t’s’. Given that, those seeking to drive policy development will be wanting to make their case early and often, particularly with the political landscape so turbulent these days. CAF is no exception, and we’ll be using our party conference stand and event to focus on two distinct areas of our work.

Firstly, we’ll be focusing on how we can unlock the philanthropic potential that will develop as the global middle class grows rapidly. Our research shows that if middle-class people across the world were to give as generously as donors in the UK, this could unlock $350bn of funding for good causes each year by 2030. Key to this is governments such as the UK’s using their resources and influences to work with countries to grow the kind of charitable culture that will encourage people to give generously. You can learn more about this project here.

As well as making this the focus of our stand (16), we’ll be making this topic the focus of one of our events. After a brief overview from CAF’s Giving Thought International Policy Manager Adam Pickering, Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Sarah LLewellin (our event partners) will oversee a discussion, featuring contributions from prominent Labour voices in this field Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Lord Collins and Stephen Doughty MP.

Our other focus is the role that civic philanthropy can play in helping to renew towns and cities across the UK. We’ve teamed with Barrow Cadbury Trust, New Philanthropy Capital and DevoConnect to hold a discussion about how we can use the power of philanthropy to help power the devolution agenda and localism, and to ensure that people feel a sense of pride and identity in their local area. Read our report on civic philanthropy here.

Chaired by Sonia Sodha, Rhodri Davies, Programme Manager of CAF’s Giving Thought think-tank and expert on philanthropy will give an overview of why now is the time for a rise in civic philanthropy. We’ll then hear from other speakers to get their take on how we can grow the role of philanthropy in modern Britain, including Greater Manchester’s directly-elected Mayor Andy Burnham, Catherine West MP who chairs the APPG on Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution, and Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of Social Enterprise UK.

We’ll be bringing you the highlights from our visit to Brighton when we return, but if you’re there stop by our stand or come along to one of our events – we’d love to get your take on the potential that these two fascinating topics hold for us. Here’s where you can find us:

Rethinking International Development - can growing civil society help secure Britain’s international influence?

1230-1400, Monday 25th September

Chartwell Room, Hilton Brighton Metropole


Can Westminster Fix Our Cities? Devolution, philanthropy and civic renewal

1800-1930, Monday 25th September

Gloucester Room, Brighton Hilton Metropole


You can find out what we're getting up to in Brighton on twitter @cafonline.

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