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For current funding opportunities, please see here.

At the heart of our Strengthening Civil Society programme is a belief that legal action is a crucial tool in tackling discrimination and disadvantage and a determination to make this tool better understood and more accessible to civil society in the UK. In the first five years of this programme (2015-2020), we tested appetite for this approach and provided wide-ranging grants to understand models for this work.

Since 2015, we have funded work which has:

  • supported organisations to understand how their objectives can be achieved through use of the law or human rights based approaches;
  • created new capacity for work that addresses specific discrimination or disadvantage and links the skills of ‘non-legal’ and ‘legal’ organisations to enhance and complement campaigns of social change; and
  • with the support of our Learning Partners, developed the evidence base for legal action and human rights based approaches.

In the first phase of the programme, we have seen great examples of social change through legal action and exciting shifts in organisational strategy to incorporate use of the law. (An evaluation of the programme so far by Hidden Depths highlights some great examples – see page 10 of the report.)

You can also explore grants given in the first phase of the programme here in our Case Study section.

We are now embarking on the next five years of this programme (2020-2025).

You can find a summary of our current and future funding priorities here. They include:

  • supporting the crucial role of and connection between expert legal organisations and civil society, increasing capacity for collaborative legal action, investing further in successful models and seed-funding new ways of working
  • protecting and promoting access to public law remedies;
  • recognising and supporting strategies in different parts of the UK; and
  • creating opportunities to develop collective leadership on legal action.

Over the next five years (2021-), we have also ringfenced £2 million to support legal action to address racial injustice. This is part of a stronger focus on racial justice across our grant-making.

You can keep in touch with the Programme and find out about funding opportunities here on our website, on twitter and in the special Strengthening Civil Society edition of our e-newsletter.