Welcome to our 2022 Impact Report! What a year it has been. Recovering (literally), financially and socially from the aftermath of COVID19 while also managing the consequences of Brexit were unprecedent challengers. Their impact will be long-term and structural, and we are under no illusion that coupled with the rising costs of living and the new recession, these realities will pose new global risks for power abuse.
I created RJ4All in the hope that it will act as a movement that will see communities working equally and side-by-side with the powerful in addressing persistent inequalities, and building a better world. I stopped worrying that this was just my own little dream, as I see it being materialised day after day at our new Community Centre, and through the work that we have been doing for ten years not just locally, but also internationally.
2023 will see us celebrating 10 years since our establishment. Ask any NGO founder and they will tell you that their two biggest fears are either to see their baby organisation growing and walking away from them, or not growing and dying. I am old enough to say that I have addressed the first fear when I let go the charity I founded when I was in my early 20s. Called IARS, I run it successfully for almost 20 years and passed it with over £1m in reserves. I did so proudly and with the hope that my original vision will continue. This is what I am prepared to do for RJ4All, when it is time. But we are not there yet! The second fear is not something that again I share despite the financial crisis. We have managed to overcome this risk, and this report brings evidences of how innovative the organisation has been not only in strengthening its financial position, but also in bringing into life projects that respond to real needs, and serve the community in a relationship of trust and integrity.
The biggest challenger during the year was not related to finance nor project delivery. In fact, we punched way above our weight and probably took too many challenges. The true challenge was to find the right people for our team which has always function as more than just a group of people working for their salary. As we grew, our capacity also had to grow. Nonetheless, this didn’t mean that we had to rush into decisions. This meant that a small team had to do more, and pick up tasks that were unexpected. But we persevered and I want to believe (and indeed feel) that apart from our unique individual skills, we share the same passions, vision and indeed values. These are fully aligned with those of RJ4All and restorative justice including power-sharing, equality, dignity, respect and involvement in decision making.
In my many years in the sector, I have made many mistakes, but I have also learned this – an organisation is not the walls, the projects nor its money. It is its people, whether the paid staff, volunteers, board members, or those we serve. If we put them second, then we are bad founder, directors, managers. On this concluding note, I want to say a huge thank you to all those who put up with my high expectations, chaotic diary and 4am emails. I hope that our shared vision compensates the sometimes-difficult days, and that together we can continue for another 10 years seeing RJ4All turning into an adult!
Dr. Theo Gavrielides
RJ4All Founder and Director