Action in Caerau & Ely
CAF Resilience Programme Charity




It’s a cliché to say that we live in uncertain times, but in uncertain times there’s not much else to be said with any certainty. I expect we, in the ‘charitable sector’, feel the resulting bewilderment and discomfort as much as anyone else. A combination of Brexit, austerity, increased competition for non-government funding and government crises leaves us wondering ‘what next’? Key decision makers come and go, and as a result, today’s policy solution to yesterday’s social crisis is often tomorrow’s chip wrapping! The danger in this environment is that motivated by a desperate desire to stay relevant to the latest issue, approach, or funding priority, we are thrown around like a small boat on a stormy sea. 

1440x490 CAF Resilience ACE learning

In this context, the need for organisations that are rooted in (and know) their communities, and are clear about their vision, their role and their strengths, is greater than ever. There is a deeper wisdom, earned by some of those who have always dealt with the precariousness and uncertainty of poverty and disadvantage that might just provide a more stable basis for our efforts. There is an experiential knowledge of what we, our neighbours and our communities need, and there are practised ways of providing for these needs through collective action, generosity and the development of local assets and resources. Charitable organisations that have built roots in these communities, that have learnt to listen to local people and that are providing opportunities for these people to act and to pursue their common good, do not need to frantically chase the next fad. They know what they are about and they are busy planting the seeds for a better future in the fragile circumstances of the present.


Our own organisation ACE, Action in Caerau and Ely, is deeply committed to this vision. We have worked hard with over 1,000 local members in one of Cardiff’s most disadvantaged communities to build a locally owned and collaborative approach. Together, we are learning to meet each other’s health and wellbeing needs, to provide for urgent basic needs to create and share art, to manage and run our own community buildings, to build our own social enterprises, and to develop a shared vision with the support of the CAF Resilience programme. We are excited about the potential our work holds in difficult times and are pleased that others are starting to take notice. We believe we are starting to tap into the deep, under-valued knowledge, energy and skills that local people hold.  We hope that funders will be attracted, away from the frantic and fractious happenings in the public realm and will take joy in supporting a quieter, wise way that is already growing from the ground on which we all stand.