Economic Justice

The Barrow Cadbury Trust believes that economic systems should be fair. Financial networks and institutions should aim to build economic inclusion and not erode it. By exploring good practice and innovation in financial systems that actively promote financial inclusion we can spread creative solutions and encourage new conversations and partnerships. We consider that financial resilience and inequality in communities can only improve if economic systems operate sustainably both at a macro and local level. In a period of reduced resources and capacity at statutory and community level, we are keen to build learning to strengthen local economies and to share best practice between a range of sectors, but particularly across local authorities.

Theory of change:

There is a growing gap between rich and poor in the UK, with increasing numbers finding themselves functionally destitute. Systems, policies and products for increasing the financial inclusion of the worst off are not fit for purpose. Barriers to change include vested interest, declining public spending, siloed approaches, short-termism and a disconnection between policy makers and people’s experiences. By working across traditional boundaries to harness good ideas, build partnerships and amplify the voice of those at the sharp end, we can create structural change to reduce inequalities.

To date we have:

  • Supported a cluster of work which explored the characteristics of a fairer financial system at a macro level;
  • Built a body of work which has highlighted the impact of austerity on particular equality groups and/or communities on low incomes and made recommendations on how their lives could be improved by practical and/or policy interventions;
  • Helped partners to explore how different approaches/networks of support or financial products can improve the lives of people on low incomes and/or who are financially excluded;
  • Worked with a small group of partners to understand and apply social value within commissioning and local economic development practices in the Birmingham and the Black Country area.

Our objectives from 2016 to 2021 are:

  • To explore and support policy, research and practical interventions to build sustainable and socially just economic systems.
  • To support alliances to build economic inclusion; and use this learning to influence policy and practice at a local level.
  • To support innovative and sustainable approaches, to build voice and reduce economic inequality through partnership and new thinking.
  • Use our resources to build movements, voice and collaboration across sectors.

We are particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Identifying ways of reducing problem debt, improving access to affordable credit and making saving easier for those on low incomes;
  • Creating sustainable local economies, including developing new forms of non-financial economy (examples of existing non-financial economies include Timebanking and local exchange trading systems – LETS, we are interested in new ideas);
  • Enabling the development of networked campaigns to respond to and challenge national economic policy;
  • Reducing the financial exclusion of people with particular vulnerabilities;
  • Building financial resilience through partnership – we are particularly interested in work that brings the statutory, voluntary and/or private sectors together in ways that could be replicated.

The Trust has historic links to Birmingham.  If your work is based in Birmingham and the Black Country, in addition to the priorities above we are also interested in:

  • Strengthening understanding and practice in relation to non-financial economies and local economies, including the implementation of legislation on social value;
  • Building networks across sectors and communities to strengthen the voice of local people to influence local, regional and national policy-makers on issues relating to economic justice;
  • Joint working and information sharing between organisations and networks in the city that will improve the financial well-being of those on low incomes.

Making an application

If you think your work fits Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Economic Justice programme objectives, criteria and theory of change please complete an enquiry form.  We will aim to respond to your enquiry within 10 working days.

Please only fill in an application form if you have already discussed your project with us and we have asked you to complete a full application.

Key Contacts

Clare Payne

Economic Justice Programme Manager
Contact Me