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What’s Onward This Week

Towns matter. The majority of Brits live and work in towns, but Onward’s research has consistently highlighted their plight. We’ve explored the rise in antisocial behaviour and decline of the high street. And we’ve set out dozens of proposals for how to restore pride in place and increase growth in towns across the country. 

It was an endorsement of that work that this week, our Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee was appointed as Chair of the Government’s Towns Unit. Adam will split his time between Onward and this new role, helping deliver the £1.1bn Long Term Plan for Towns. The challenges facing towns are significant, but we hope that Onward can be part of the process to turn their fortunes around.

✍️ Research

Nearly one in five charities are edging towards bankruptcy, and several are having to turn away those seeking their help. In this perilous financial backdrop for the charity sector, donations from philanthropists matter more than ever. They bring with them more than just money – but a wealth of expertise, networks, and innovative thinking to solve complex societal challenges. 

But Onward’s latest report Giving Back Better reveals that that the wealthiest are not pulling their charitable weight. If they donated at the same rate as the poorest, the charity sector could benefit from as much as £3.4 billion in extra donations. To grow and better target philanthropy, the report calls for automating Gift Aid, arguing that it will boost charity income by £520 million. It recommends the creation of geographically targeted ‘Charitable Action Zones’ to attract donations into places that see little charitable activity.

📰 Media Mentions

Giving Back Better was covered in the Times, alongside an open letter to the editor signed by 19 of the UK’s leading philanthropists calling for greater giving. Senior Researcher Shivani H Menon appeared on Times Radio and the Third Sector podcast to discuss the findings from the report.

Lord Hague quoted Onward’s Qualifying for the Race to Net Zero report in his Times column encouraging a trade revolution in the UK.  

Onward Chief Economist Tim Leuing highlights the importance of the government prioritising higher education in FEWeek.

🌐 Onward Online

What is philanthropy? What are the philanthropic trends across the UK? Onward’s Deputy Director Adam Hawksbee explains.

Head of Politics and Polling Jim Blagden outlines why culture polarises more than economics in the context of immigration.

🗓️ Upcoming Events

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We are delighted to invite you to our latest panel event Paid Work that Pays Back: The UK Year of Service.

Britain’s youth face pressing challenges. They struggle to develop the practical skills to succeed in their professional lives, suffer from poor mental health and feel distant from their communities. But young people are also crying out for opportunities to make a difference and shape their communities.

Across the world, countries have long identified the potential in harnessing this energy into action. In the United States, since 1994, more than a million Americans have signed up for Americorps, an initiative designed to engage US citizens in service through a variety of stipended volunteer work programs in many sectors. Inspired by such schemes abroad, the UK Year of Service pilot programme was set up and it has already been a transformational initiative for 300 young Britons, providing a blueprint for an ambitious project here in the UK.

This panel event, led by Minister for Employment Jo Churchill, will discuss the impact that the UK Year of Service could have on young people who seek to build their skills and serve their communities.

We hope you are able to join us.

Date: Thursday 1st February
10:30 – 11:30
Central Westminster

To sign up for this event, please click here.

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