Voice, power, change

By 5th March 2020 Blogs

Fiona Duncan introduces Corra’s new strategy

Corra’s new strategy is a response to the world we live in, and to the one we want to play a part in building. It’s a ten year strategy; long term because making a difference on the big challenges will take time. At its heart is the strong belief that when people find their voice, they unlock the power to make change happen.

A few years ago we became Corra Foundation and set out to be bold. Since then, listening to communities and charities has made it clear that the challenges people face have become even starker. Around a quarter of children live in poverty. Food and clothing banks have become an essential resource in our communities. Over one thousand people a year lose their lives to drugs in Scotland. And for the first time in three decades rises in life expectancy have begun to stall. All this against a backdrop of children urging action to safeguard the planet and so their future.

We believe that means we need to be bolder.

Corra’s strategy is for ten years and is focused on helping to create an environment in which:

The power to create change rests with people themselves.

Everyone should have power, control and the sense that they can make a difference through what they do. Too many people feel that their voice isn’t heard or listened to and that decisions that affect them are taken by other people. Corra will work to support people and communities and challenge the barriers that get in their way, with the aim of more people having the power to create change.

People with ideas for radical change are supported, skilled, connected and confident.

The people who know best how to respond to challenges are those who are most closely affected by them. Often though, they can’t access the support that would tip the odds in their favour. This might include funding that comes with trust and time… opportunities to build and share skills… and the chance to make connections with others, in Scotland and beyond. Corra will develop this type of support and aim to make it more widely accessible to people as they pursue radical change

People are working together to respond to the big challenges facing Scotland.

The most powerful way to find new solutions is by bringing lived and learned expertise to the table. This type of social change needs a whole range of tools, including: making best use of data; funding; helping people build their confidence and skills; networking; learning, sharing and campaigning. Corra will continue to work with others, creating spaces – where they are needed – for people to share, learn, collaborate and influence together.

To do this we will support people with ideas for radical change, and be prepared to take well thought out risks. We won’t shout to make Corra’s voice heard but will amplify the voices of people who aren’t listened to. We will support people’s own power to make a difference through the actions they take, recognising that this means giving up some of the power we hold.

Voice and power are themes that have emerged strongly through the last few years of Corra’s work. In 2015 Everyone Has a Story listened to the stories of children and young people affected by drugs and alcohol. Since then we have launched, with partners, the Listening Fund to support charities to listen to children and young people. Last year we hosted the second Change Convention which aimed to create space for conversations that included people who hold power and people who feel furthest from it. And we’re privileged to deliver the #ShiftThePower Scotland Comic Relief programme.

Over the coming decade, we will work to support people and communities to challenge the barriers that get in their way. We will continue to develop relationships with people and organisations in Scottish places, supporting communities to connect with each other and influence wider change. We will also continue to develop participatory approaches to grant making, with people with lived experience playing a central role in designing programmes and making decisions.

Grant making will remain an important part of Corra’s work.

Charities have told us they want trust and time and those are key features of the relaunched Henry Duncan Grants. We’re delighted to be able to offer grants of up to five years, with no restrictions wherever possible. We know that poverty is one of the biggest challenges facing people in Scotland and this year Henry Duncan Grants will focus on enabling families to cope with its day-to-day impacts.

We’ll continue to offer grants to charities to support children and young people affected by alcohol and drugs, as well as a wide range of grants on behalf of others and focusing on issues including homelessness, children and families, gender equality, mental health, international development and climate change.

Across everything Corra does we’ll seek to learn as much as possible, to listen to people and communities, and collaborate widely. Partnership is already at the heart of our approach and we’ll continue to deepen and enrich this as the only way to achieve lasting change.

Our new strategy is not about Corra. It’s about the people, communities and organisations that make a difference every day. Many of those we have the privilege of working alongside are the ones that enable people to connect, build relationships and networks, develop confidence and resilience and ultimately, find their voice and make themselves heard. We believe that when people’s voices become strong and demand to be listened to, that is when power begins to shift, radical ideas emerge and real change happens.

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