The Boingboing Foundation (the Foundation) is an exciting new charity established to add to the scope and impact of work focused on social justice rooted resilience research and practice. Whilst the Foundation is independent of Boingboing Resilience CIC (the social enterprise), it will unite with it, the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice and their collaborators, to advance the concept of resilience defined as ‘beating the odds whilst also changing the odds’. The Foundation’s resilience research and practice will prioritise ideas and applications that go beyond essential support for individuals, and identify ways in which the environment people live in can better support them, and / or reduce their difficulties in the first place. This is important to us because systems that work better for those needing extra support often work better for everyone, and because there is much evidence demonstrating how mental health is negatively impacted by experiences of inequality and discrimination.
Our public benefit and impact
The benefits of advancing education relating to the subject of resilience include individuals having the opportunity to learn how to build their own resilience, so they are better equipped to navigate challenges that arise in their lives. For example, by participating in training to become co-researchers, young people living in poverty could learn new skills, increase opportunities to build resilience, and have a forum to have their say and be heard about issues that are important to them and their communities. This individual benefit also cascades to a collective benefit, as more community members acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding to support community resilience building, increasing participation and engagement in community activities and reducing the need for specialist support and intervention such as mental health services.
Advancing understanding and creating new knowledge through co-producing research will benefit individuals, communities and the workforce through increasing the evidence base of what works in building resilience; increasing the autonomy and capabilities of individuals to build resilience for themselves and others, and in creating support which is more effective, and better able to meet people’s needs.
Providing relief from need by creating opportunities for people and communities to make resilient moves will have fundamental value to both individuals and to the health and well-being of the society around them. For example through creating safe and regular spaces where parents and carers can come together, offer peer support, learn about resilience with one another, and create a toolkit for others to bring their learning together for the benefit of others, individual beneficiaries increase their support network, grow in confidence and knowledge about what resilience building mechanisms they can try for themselves and the children they care for, and feel valued for their contribution to their wider community. Additionally, by supporting individuals to take part in group innovation activity about an issue that is important to them, such as climate change, they will have opportunities to make new relationships, get together with people they can rely on, develop life skills and solve problems. This will build their own resilience, health and wellbeing alongside any environmental benefit generated by their activities, which will benefit society more widely.
Promoting equality and diversity will benefit individuals often left out and excluded from support and research. Individuals will themselves benefit from new experiences and opportunities to be heard. By modelling ways to undertake inclusive research and practice and disseminating these results through peer-reviewed research but also through accessible blogs available to the wider public, wider society will benefit from increased understanding and ideas about how to reduce discrimination. Communities will benefit from the involvement and insight of a greater diversity of people in opportunities such as employment or training. The Foundation also believes that its purposes and activities will benefit the general public and society as a whole, because everyone benefits from a world in which equality and diversity are promoted and in which those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups are better represented and provided for throughout society.
More broadly, beneficiaries will be:
- Young people, parents, carers and people facing multiple systemic disadvantage: through opportunities to co-produce resilience resources, initiate and collaborate on social activism projects and challenge existing service responses to drive and inform service improvements.
- Practitioners: through continuous and progressive opportunities to develop their understanding and practice of how confronting systemic challenges can be an essential component of individual resilience, working in a co-productive way to enable their practice and systems to be challenged and changed.
- Communities: through the wider benefits of achieving greater resilience throughout communities which face systemic disadvantages.
The Boingboing Foundation became a registered charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity number: 1194676) in June 2021 and a registered company limited by guarantee (Company number: 13384036). The Charity is established to advance knowledge in, and practical application of, ideas associated with the concept of resilience.
The initial trustees of the charity are:
- Caroline Taylor-Beswick (Chair); a qualified social worker and youth and community development worker with experience of working within the public, charitable and social enterprise sectors. Caroline’s interests are in Children’s Rights and social justice, and the democratisation of knowledge.
- Dr Francisca Farache Aureliano da Silva; an academic and Principal Lecturer within a research focussed university. Francisca’s research interests are in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), CSR communications and Business Ethics.
- Scott Dennis; a qualified accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA): “As a parent of three adopted children with complex needs, I am excited to be involved as a Trustee for our Foundation. I am a community-based researcher with experience of participatory action research methodologies in resilience and mental health – this means involving everyone affected by the issues we are researching, including young people and parents. Useful for my role as Treasurer, I am a qualified accountant with with over 15 years of experience of financial management. Through both my family life and working life I have seen the importance of not just beating the odds but also changing the odds so that people do not have to keep overcoming the same challenges again and again. As a volunteer Trustee for Boingboing Foundation, I like using my skills and experience to help the organisation grow and develop”.
- Buket Kara is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice and has been a Boingboing volunteer for several years. Buket also brings valued experience from her time as an elected Executive Board member of the Association of Psychologists for Social Solidarity (Turkey) and as the Vice President of the Free Colors LGBTI+ Association (Turkey). Buket has been involved in projects that include acting in solidarity with the oppressed people in society, organising workshops about social equality, as well as campaigns against hate speech and discrimination towards minority groups and gender-based violence – a great fit for the Foundation.
Trustees will prioritise work with, by and for people that face multiple systemic disadvantages. Disadvantages may be due to disability, race, gender, religion, sexuality and/or living in poverty. Trustees recognise the increased risk of developing mental health problems caused by such systemic disadvantage and the benefit to both the individuals and to the wider public that can be created through taking action to address them.
Through our own governance arrangements, we are seeking to proactively address under-representation of certain groups within the charity sector. As a first step, we have listened to and heard the call to action from the Young Trustee Movement, who highlight that less than 3% of charity trustees are under 30. We have ensured our Articles of Association reflect the legal possibility for young people aged 16 years plus to be trustees, have appointed a founding trustee member who is under 30 years, and have identified a Young Trustee Movement Board rep. We recognise there is much more to do one this issue and with other under-represented groups.
You can contact the board of trustees via [email protected]
Created as part of the ongoing Community Solutions for Health Equity project that Boingboing Foundation are proudly part of, we are pleased to share recordings of a series of workshops held recently in Blackpool. These workshops are free resources to be taken advantage of by any community members or organisations looking for a beginner’s guide to developing the research skills and knowledge needed to explore health inequalities in coastal areas.
For the past year and a half Boingboing has been working on a Research Ready Communities pilot project in Blackpool alongside the National Institute for Health Research as part of their Under-served Communities programme. Typically, much of the funding for health research in the UK goes to universities in London, Oxford and Cambridge, but health research is needed the most in places like Blackpool, where the harmful impacts of health inequalities are worst felt.
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