Changing practice

Changing practice

Our aim is to help change the way disadvantage is tackled so that it does not cluster or escalate, those in greatest need are prioritised, and the opportunities offered to people are genuine.

At the very least we want people who face severe and multiple disadvantage to have access to support that:

  • centres on trusted, consistent and empathetic relationships
  • responds to the interrelated nature of multiple disadvantage
  • is co-produced and empowering
  • builds the capabilities, aspirations and assets of the person
  • is non-stigmatising and forge links with the wider community


Critically, our approach and practice moves away from interventions and services that “do to” people, instead putting power, choice and control into the hands of those facing disadvantage.

We want to find ways to spark, seek and support practice that involves these core characteristics and values and that can have a transformative effect on wider systems. We call this social innovation: development of new and existing practice through innovation that can tackle social challenges. We focus on social innovations as a way to prototype different aspects of the future systems we wish to build.

Our work in this field takes many forms, from working with the Open Book project to take their peer mentoring work to more education establishments and exploring people’s right to define and fulfil their potential, to funding the Mayday Trust’s Mayday Inspire pilot, which rejects traditional key working models from the earliest states. And, from assisting the team at Camerados to set up their co-operative movement, to looking at how innovations may spread by working with Holy Cross Centre Trust as they design a new operating model for adult social care.

To learn more and be part of this change please do contact us.

Equality and rights

Severe and multiple disadvantage has a close correlation with poverty and wider disadvantages such as discrimination. It is much more prevalent in areas of economic deprivation and decline particularly post-industrial northern areas, seaside towns and some areas of London. And it affects women and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in ways that link to discrimination, such as violence against women and disproportionate incarceration of young black men.

We are using quantitative and qualitative research to build an inclusive picture of the lives of people facing severe and multiple disadvantage, investigating the different ways it plays out for different groups of people.

  • We have commissioned work on women and multiple disadvantage.
  • We have made a major 5-year commitment to establish a ‘knowledge hub’ on ethnicity and severe and multiple disadvantage, which will use data as a tool for change.
  • We are using evidence from research to underpin action such as our involvement in Agenda, the new alliance for women and girls at risk of severe and multiple disadvantage

We are interested in rights-based approaches and in how human rights can provide a frame for the kinds of relationships and processes that lead to systems change.

We think there is untapped potential in the use of the law as a tool for change in this area.

We have supported Public Law Project’s successful work to challenge the legality of the exceptional funding scheme which was supposed to make legal aid available to people facing the most extreme disadvantage.

With others we have funded a new guide published by Justice, Public Law Project and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law for lawyers and charities on the use of judicial review, following the reforms brought about by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

To learn more and be part of this change please do contact us.

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