May 2017

What next?

19th May 2017

I am now pretty much on the ‘home straight’ of my year-long secondment to City Bridge Trust (CBT).  I will be leaving this amazing organisation at the end of July: an organisation that has challenged and inspired me time and again.

So what have I been doing in the few months that have passed since my last blog at the end of January 2017?  It’s been a busy few months…a lot of my time has been spent speaking with people and getting their feedback on the draft strategy that we published in February 2017.  In the end we ran ten focus groups, and for three of these we partnered with Citizens UK, Inclusion London and London Youth to reach in to their networks for their views.  Feedback on the draft strategy was broadly positive and supportive of the direction of travel outlined.  There were requests for more information about what we meant by our proposed values-base and our future funding priorities, and I think that in our proposed strategy this has been achieved.

All of these discussions resulted in us being able to present a proposed final version of the strategy to the CBT Committee on 11th May 2017.  This meeting was an opportunity for our Committee to approve the strategy – which they did!  This means that it will now be taken to the City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council in July 2017, where it will receive the final seal of approval that allows us to then share it and use it externally.  Check out our updated webpages for more information about this.

Our strategy is called Bridging Divides, and it sets out a clear strategic direction for CBT from 2018 to 2023, in terms of its priorities and the kind of funder it will need to be.

It is a strategy that is absolutely led by and anchored in its vision and values.  Our proposed visionis one where London is a city where all individuals and communities can thrive, especially those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.

Our mission is to reduce inequality and foster more cohesive communities, by using all of our assets and resources: including the links we have to civil society, other funders and the wider funding ecology, and the links of our trustee, the City of London Corporation, to local, regional and national Government and the private sector.

In terms of the work we will fund, our intention can be summarised broadly as funding work across a bridge of need and potential, that begins where individuals and communities are ‘surviving’ and ends when they are ‘thriving’.

So, what will I be doing in my last two months at CBT?  We need to make some minor changes to the strategy and ensure that it is available in multiple formats, ahead of its release in July.  I also want to mark the availability of the strategy externally with a ‘thank you’ event of some sort, open to everyone and anyone who has taken an interest in this work – more on that soon.

However, the bulk of my last few weeks at CBT will be spent by starting to draft an Implementation Document for the strategy, in partnership with Jenny Field, who is CBT’s Deputy Director and will be leading on the implementation of the strategy.  Once this document is finished it will provide a detailed guide on how the strategy will become operational from April 2018 next year.  So from July onwards, colleagues at CBT will provide you with updates on how this work is progressing, as this will be of real importance and interest to those who are thinking of applying to us for our funding.


Sufina Ahmad, Head of Strategic Review