Change Conversations: 2024 in focus

2023 saw another year of instability: humanitarian crises, soaring inflation and the effects of climate change wreaking havoc on the world. Charities have been on the frontlines throughout it all, providing necessary support. As we enter a new year, still fatigued from the state of perma-crisis we are in, what is the role of charities in anchoring us. How can they provide help and solutions to the challenges the world is facing?

GOOD was joined by four leading charity CEOs for our annual Change Conversations event, who discussed their fears, hopes, and predictions for 2024.

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO, NSPCC

Beccy Speight, CEO, RSPB

Simon Gunning, CEO, CALM

Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council


Here are three key takeaways:

Outrage & Optimism

The main takeaway from the event was most definitely ‘outrange and optimism’. Beccy Speight from RSPB first mentioned the term they use often and said, ‘You need to be really outraged about the current situation. But you need to be optimistic about what action standing up can deliver to address that.’

Sir Peter Wanless from NSPCC added, ‘I think outrage and optimism is a great way of thinking about the tension we’re wrestling with this year, particularly regarding upcoming system change. It can anchor people and help them feel more stable given the extraordinary and overwhelming issues [In the world].’

Collaboration is (still) key

Its prevalence in this year’s discussion shows it’s still something that charities are talking about and want to see more of.

Speight reflected on one of her key learnings from 2023 as being ‘the importance of collaborative work in the face of such huge issues.’

The panel highlighted collaboration as something they hope the sector can start to do better, working together for a collective goal, making a larger impact on communities served.

However, Enver Solomon noted that to be successful ‘you have to recognise that collaboration is not always easy; it does take time. And it is hard work. And it does involve a different mindset. But it is worth it.’

Speight added, ‘the thing I’ve learned about collaboration is that partners need to be really honest about where their strengths are and where their weaknesses are. You need to know that to get into really good effective collaboration.’

Hope is the antidote

There was no denying between the panellists that 2023 was an extremely tough year, with endless crises. However, through all of that, hope still prevails. Simon Gunning from CALM reflected on his learnings from the past year and stated that ‘hope is the antidote’ and we should lean into.

We closed the session with messages of hope from the Charity leaders. So, we want to leave you with some words of hope and inspiration:

‘Don’t judge the future on the present and the past; we are change agents, and we can make the change’ – Simon Gunning, CALM

‘Believe in yourself and believe that what we’re trying to achieve will come to fruition.’ – Enver Solomon, Refugee Council

‘Hang on to the outrage and optimism, hold both of these things in your head and know that you are making a difference to the causes that matter most to humanity.’ – Beccy Speight, RSPB

‘All of our organisations and many beyond make a vital contribution to a better world, and being with us on that journey is greatly appreciated and hopefully rewarding.’-  Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC


A massive thank you to our panel for their honest and passionate discussion.


You can also read about the event in Third Sector here.