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Introduction from the new Chief Executive

By Andy Cook

It is a great honour to lead the Centre for Social Justice.

In 2007 a friend and I set up a charity to help and support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into training and work. It was founded on the principle that the individuals we worked with were people to be developed, not problems to be solved.

Time on the front-line taught me about the genuine passion that exists within political, charitable and business spheres to tackle disadvantage and support people to reach their full potential.

Now is a crucial time in the fight for a more socially just Britain. Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, has committed her Government to tackling the “burning injustices” that are endemic throughout this country. She has promised that the UK will be a country that works for everyone.

The CSJ shares this passion wholeheartedly. A passion to not only understand what traps people in poverty, but also to release them from it and give them every opportunity to thrive. We also understand that drawing people together for this common cause is key to making and sustaining change.

Much has been achieved in lifting people out of poverty in recent years, most notably through the UK’s job’s miracle which has seen unemployment plummet to 4.9 per cent. There is, however, still much to do.

Under half (47 per cent) of disabled people of working age are employed, compared to 80 per cent of non-disabled people; one in 40 children under the age of one live with a parent addicted to drugs; just 34 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved at least 5 A*- C GCSEs (or equivalent grades) including English and Mathematics compared to 61 per cent of all other pupils; the number of people seeking help with debt problems hit a record high in 2016; and about a million children in the UK are growing up without meaningful contact with their fathers.

These startling realities outline just some of the challenges the Centre for Social Justice is committed to solving. We will be working closely with our alliance of charities, business and Government to develop transformative reforms to tackle these issues and to help ensure that we have a country that works for everyone

The CSJ Awards provide life-changing charities with game-changing opportunities.

By Andy Cook

Our Alliance of over 350 frontline charities and voluntary organisations sit at the heart of the Centre for Social Justice.

The CSJ provides a bridge between poverty and privilege. We are poised between the corridors of power and the streets of this nation. We champion within Westminster those charities that help tackle some of Britain’s harshest poverty and disadvantage.

Our policies are developed and nurtured through our partnership with charities who are at the coal face. Alongside this, the CSJ delivers a platform to champion their causes, upskill their delivery, and expand their reach. I have experienced this first-hand during my time at Twenty/Twenty, a CSJ Alliance member charity.

There is no better way for me to start my time at the helm of the CSJ than by officially launching our 2017 CSJ Awards.

These awards celebrate and reward the most innovative and impactful small charities across the UK. Each winning charity receives £10,000 and the chance to have their work profiled to an audience of politicians, philanthropists, media, celebrities and leaders in the business and voluntary sectors.

To date, the CSJ Awards have brought over 90 winning voluntary groups to the attention of the national media and policy makers, with nearly £500,000 being given out to date.

Winning an award gives game-changing opportunity to life-changing people.

Applications for the 2017 CSJ Awards are now open.

Previous award winners have shared how valuable winning a CSJ award has been for their charity.

‘A huge thank you for giving Eikon such a great opportunity to increase awareness and gain support. The award sits proudly in our reception for the world to see and the £10k boost is so helpful’ Eikon, CSJ Award winner 2014

We never dreamed we would get this kind of exposure!’
St Petrock’s Exeter, CSJ Award winner 2015

Email awards@centreforsocialjustice.org.uk to receive more information. Application deadline: 5pm, Friday 11 November.

Government needs to provide a robust obesity strategy for the sake of our children.

Abridged from Baroness Jenkin's article for the Daily Telegraph.

Today is World Obesity Day and with three-quarters of the British population set to be overweight or obese in a single generation, we simply cannot watch our children eat themselves to death any longer.

The UK has an alarming ‘obesity gap’. The poorest 20 per cent of children are nearly three times more likely to be obese than the richest 20 per cent.

This is why I whole-heartedly welcome the Centre for Social Justice’s plan to begin a report looking at the root causes of childhood obesity in Britain’s most deprived communities. It will set out solid recommendations for the Government to take forward, so we can tackle this issue once and for all and support children to reach their full potential. 

While I am one of many who have said that if people started to eat less and move more the obesity crisis could at least start to be tackled, I am also aware that it is not as simple as that.  I speak from personal experience as someone who has been technically obese and finally lost 28 lbs.

My own experience, the experience of countless others, and new scientific studies show that if we really want to effectively reduce obesity rates, we need to look to solutions beyond just eating less and moving more. Though these remain an important part of the solution, they are not the only solution nor do they account for the many complex factors that contribute to our weight.

Obese and overweight children are much more likely to become obese adults. As an obese adult, they will not only increase their risk of incurring the long list of potentially fatal obesity-driven diseases including diabetes, cancer, amputation and disability, but also increase their risk of poor educational attainment and lower chances of employment.

The Government’s recent Childhood Obesity Plan published this summer does not go far enough to address this endemic issue. I look forward to working with the CSJ over the coming months to develop a plan that will help Government to create a society that supports our children to flourish.

Baroness Jenkin is a life peer in the House of Lords.