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New frontiers: The social sector in post-Brexit Britain

  • 17-25 New Inn Yard EC2A 3EA (map)

The Brexit Civil Society Alliance and NPC are hosting a free conference, bringing together the social sector to discuss the potentially momentous changes Brexit will have on charities, voluntary organisations and the communities they champion and represent.

Brexit presents serious challenges for the UK social sector. The three years since the country voted to leave the European Union (EU) have thrown up a series of questions—how best to respond to it, how to prepare for it, how to mitigate against it where needed—that remain unanswered.

Ongoing uncertainty for charities and voluntary organisations is as big an issue as it is for businesses, the likely impact on the people, places and causes they represent, just as great—but neither have received the debate and attention they rightly deserve.

We believe there is urgent need for the social sector to discuss the momentous changes that Brexit will bring, provide a public platform to raise concerns and begin to develop a greater sense of collective understanding of, and responsibility for, the challenges ahead.

At this event we’ll be asking:

  • Is the sector prepared for Brexit?

  • What will the funding environment look like post-Brexit, how will it be delivered—and by who?

  • What effect will Brexit have on philanthropic funder behaviours?

  • How has the sector come together to champion the rights of EU nationals in post-Brexit Britain?

  • What should the role and mission of the sector be post-Brexit?

  • Do we need to rethink the nature of our relationship/commitment to so-called left-behind, Brexit voting areas?

  • What new opportunities are there for the sector?

Speakers include:

  • Tony Armstrong, Locality

  • John Downie, SCVO

  • Belinda Prattern, Equally Ours

  • Kirsty McHugh, Mayors fund for London

  • Debbie Pippard, Barrow Cadbury


10.00-10.15 Welcome to the day: Jane Thomas and Nathan Yeowell; introduction to morning session

The new frontier: How we got here and where to now? 

10.15-10.45: Opening provocation: A new frontier? Duncan Shrubsole, LBFEW

Response: How we got here—and what current trends tell us about our future? TBC

10.45-11.00: Discussion and question session on challenges, threats and opportunities for the sector. Reflections from:

  • Sue Tibballs, Sheila McKechnie Foundation

  • John Tizard, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action 

  • Debbie Pippard, Barrow Cadbury Trust

11.00-12.00 Open out to audience for Q&A

12.00-12.15 Break

Sector coming together 

12.15-12.30 Recap, reflections and thoughts for the sector to take forward

12.30-13.00 Sector coming together case study: The Transition Advice Fund

13.00-14.00 Lunch

The new frontier: Funding through Brexit 

14.00-14.15 Introduction to afternoon session, Jane Thomas

14.15-14.45 Opening provocation/keynote: Will the sector survive? Navigating new funding and unlocking the power of local communities, Tony Armstrong, Locality

14.45-15.45 Panel/sofa discussion and Q&A on changing funding landscape post-Brexit; how nations and regions are responding; how can we plan and coordinate more effectively?

Chair: Belinda Pratten, Equally Ours

  • Kirsty McHugh, Mayor’s Fund for London

  • John Downie, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations 

  • Phil Fiander, Wales Council for Voluntary Action 

15.45-16.15 Reasons to be cheerful? Closing keynote and Q&A, TBC 

16.15-16.30 Next steps, thank and goodbye