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Charities Aid Foundation's Giving Thought podcast explored the big issues, themes and news stories relating to philanthropy and the work of civil society. 

This podcast is no longer produced.


Jun 15, 2021

In this episode we talk to Jo Kerr and Sonya Ruparel, from UK charity Turn2Us, about poverty, participation and the impact of the pandemic. Including:


Impact of Covid Pandemic

  • How has the Covid 19 pandemic affected Turn 2 Us, and the people and communities the charity serves?
  • What are the biggest challenges for the organisation over the coming months and longer-term post-pandemic?

Digital Transformation

  • Has the necessity to adapt due to the pandemic accelerated Turn2Us’s digital adoption or transformation at all? If so, how?
  • How important is the collection and use of data to the charity’s work? How is a focus on data incorporated into the organisation’s strategy?
  • To what extent is digital transformation about employment practices rather than technology? (E.g. flexible/remote working, making charity work more appealing than private or public sector). Has the pandemic presented an opportunity in this regard?
  • How might the charity workplace change over the next decade or so?
  • What are the major barriers to the charity sector when it comes to engaging with and making use of technology?


  • What, for Turn 2 Us, are the key areas of focus when it comes to tackling poverty?
  • How have issues of poverty changed during the pandemic?
  • Do particular communities or geographic localities face particular challenges when it comes to the impacts of poverty? How do you combine the specificity to address these particular challenges with the generality required to work at scale?

Role of charities

  • What is the core role of civil society which differentiates it from either state or market provision?
  • A lot of the work of Turn 2 Us is about helping people to understand and claim rights and benefits provided by the state- so is it more about “justice” than “charity”?
  • How should we view the balance between addressing the symptoms of poverty through direct services and addressing its causes through advocating for fundamental systemic reform?

Participation & Power

  • Turn 2 Us’s approach is rooted in ideas of co-production and empowering those in need to determine their own solutions. Why is this so important?
  • What should we make of approaches such as participatory grantmaking, which seek to shift power as well as money towards recipients? Will we see more of this in coming years?


  • Has the Covid pandemic highlighted the importance of strong civil society infrastructure?
  • What are the key elements of this infrastructure?
  • How do we ensure that infrastructure is fit for the challenges of the future?


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