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SMK newsletter - May 2016

Welcome to the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s (SMK) May 2016 newsletter. In this edition you will find:

Sue Tibballs: It's our campaigning that sustains the third sector

10 May 2016

"At a voluntary sector event in Scotland last month, someone said to me that "the most interesting campaigns today are not coming from the charity sector". I was taken aback. Haven't charities always been at the vanguard of social campaigning?

A look at the winners of this year's SMK Campaigner Awards suggest this person had a point. Of the nine issue-specific categories, only two were won by charities this year – All Walks Beyond the Catwalk for its work on diversity in the fashion industry, and the If U Care Share Foundation, set up to encourage more open discussion of suicide. All the other winners were individuals or small groups – such as Martin Emery and his family, whose United Discriminated campaign forced dramatic changes in access to football stadia for disabled people."

The full article is available on the SMK website. 

Upcoming training
We have two one day campaigning workshops coming up across the UK. They are perfect if you are new to campaigning or want to brush up your campaigning skills.  Each workshop provides the opportunity to find out how to develop a campaign strategy and an overview of the key skills needed to run an effective campaign. They also provide an opportunity to meet other campaigners in your area, develop your professional network and receive peer support.
You will learn about...
  • The successful features of a campaign.
  • The key steps in planning a campaign.
  • How to influence political processes and decision-makers, as well as how to use both traditional and social media to obtain support for your campaign.
Feedback from some previous attendees -
  • Cardiff 27/04/16 'The facilitator was really encouraging and gave great advice to specific cases and to different people's campaign. I would highly recommend this workshop'
  • Brighton 11/05/16 'Very engaging and interesting session. I have learnt some useful tips that I can now apply to my own campaign'

Workshop dates

  • Portsmouth: Wednesday 8 June 2016, book here.
  • Leicester: Wednesday 15 June 2016, book here.
The cost of the workshops are heavily subsidised by the Tudor Trust and range from £15 - £180 based on the turnover of your organisation. Places for the workshops will go very quickly.

Influencing Change Gender Equality

The picture at the top of this newsletter is from our Influencing Change Gender Equality programme, which ended in May. The programme involved 25 fantastic campaigners from across the UK who spent 5 inspiring days together to learn more about creating a more equal society. A big thank you to all of the participants for being brilliant and to our amazing speakers from the following organisations and campaigns - Houses of Parliament, Monfort, Forster Communications, Women's Resource Centre, Common Purpose, No More Page 3, the GREAT Initiative, the Women's Equality Party, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (the programme funders) and to former MP Jo Swinson and freelance journalist Viv Groskop. 

There will be more about the programme in Sue's next Third Sector column, but here is a flavour of the feedback from participants:
“Having a specialist gender programme really strengthened the experience”.

“Inspiring to meet colleagues with the same agenda, which is rare”

“Please run it again so that others have the opportunity!”.

If you would like take part in the next Influencing Change Programme please email
Policy Work
On 27 April the Cabinet Office announced a "pause" in the implementation of a new clause in government grant agreements that would prevent funding from being used to influence the government. We and other charities are very concerned about the clause and believe it could prevent many organisations from raising important issues around government policy. You can view our statement on the clause here and we will keep you updated on developments.
Changed By Campaigning.
BOND, the UK membership body for organisations working in international development is collecting case studies and stories to illustrate the proud role that campaigners have had in mobilising public pressure for a good society and a safe planet. The aim is to collect together a list of issues that have been Changed by Campaigning over the last 100 years. The project will create a great resource for campaigners and also help to counter some of the suggestions that charities, in particular, should not be involved in campaigning and influencing. BOND have created a short form to collect the case studies by early June. Please do share it with your contacts – the more examples we can collect the better. 
About us
The Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) is a registered charity that supports campaigners to make an impact. We aim to equip people with the skills to bring about change at a local, national or international level. 

We run a range of programmes to support campaigners, from one day introductory courses to masterclasses for experienced campaigners. For more information, please click 
here or get in touch with our Events and Programmes Officer 
Copyright © 2016 Sheila McKechnie Foundation, All rights reserved.
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