Furthering Occupational Therapy

The Elizabeth Casson Trust aims to support the furtherance of occupational therapy primarily, but not exclusively, in the United Kingdom.

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If you aren’t familiar with the Elizabeth Casson Trust, you may not know how we support the profession of occupational therapy and what we can do to support you. Watch this short 3 minute video to learn more.

Chair’s Blog: Connecting With New Opportunities



In July I will have been chair of the Elizabeth Casson Trust for 2 years. I find myself wondering how I am so lucky to be in this role. It’s caused me to reflect on my 50 years in Occupational Therapy, which started at Dorset House in 1971, the very school established by Dr. Elizabeth Casson. I feel like I have completed a full circle in my career with so many interesting experiences along the way and that this role connects all the dots in between. My career, including professional activities post retirement, has been peppered with fantastic opportunities and serving as chair of the Trust is certainly up there at the top of the list. Ever the opportunist I couldn’t resist the invitation to apply for this role when it came along. A great opportunity to connect with Elizabeth Casson’s legacy, to stay connected with Occupational Therapy and to help support the Trust though its next stage of development so that we are nimble and responsive to the profession, something that is particularly important to our trustees especially during this pandemic.

Last week the Elizabeth Casson Trust launched new strategic and operational intentions underpinned by a description of our value base. These set our direction for the next five years. You can read them here. They represent the outputs of six-months work supported by two excellent consultancies (Article Consulting and Fiona McNeil Consultancy) who were generous in sharing their knowledge and insights but who also did not step back from challenging our thinking. I’ve always appreciated the positive impact of inviting people from outside organisations to join discussion as more often than not they throw a light on new ways of looking at existing issues. This is really important for the Trust as we strive to be as open, transparent and as diverse as possible. Setting our intentions in our value base has been particularly helpful as we step forward into a programme of growth and development. Our trustees are all committed to this work without exception and helped craft the final version of our intentions so that it is truly representative of where we see ourselves over the next five years. They also know that there is still much work to do if we are to fulfil the commitments as set out, from diversifying our board structure to ensuring our processes are as transparent as possible, as well as stepping into new projects like the Elizabeth Casson Trust Mentoring programme with the pilot launched earlier this year.

So what do these new intentions offer the Occupational Therapy community? I hope access to resources and support that will allow you to explore new opportunities to develop professionally, to innovate in designing and improving services and to add to the profession’s evidence base.Just as Elizabeth Casson intended when she established the Trust with its guiding aim of ‘furthering Occupational Therapy’.

Grasping opportunities is always a challenge not least that many of us, including me, experience moments of ‘imposter syndrome’. However, we believe that Occupational Therapy can and does make a significant difference to people’s lives and so, through our funding and development opportunities, we want to support you to have the confidence to grasp those new opportunities waiting for you. Our resources are open to all Occupational Therapists be they newly qualified, approaching the end of their career or retired and everyone in between.

You might want to take a small step in your own professional development or a series of larger steps to enhance your research career or develop the service that you work in. Whichever it is, we have something for you. We will be making sure our application process reflects the new strategic intentions and are very happy to discuss any application or proposal you may be considering, if that helps you. We are also commissioning a range of projects that will support you. To date this includes the mentoring programme that is in its pilot stage and a series of master classes with occupational therapists sharing their skills and knowledge on a variety of subjects. These are available here with more being added over the next months.

I encourage you to take a look at what we offer, which is aimed at supporting your development and building your professional confidence.  I also challenge you at this time of great change across the health and social care sectors to think about your professional development and progression. Never has there been so much potential for Occupational Therapists to really raise their profile and make a lot of noise about what we can contribute, something that is vital during and after the COVID pandemic and across all sectors.  We want to hear from you about your needs and what will make difference to you so get in touch by email, any of our social media outlets, or join us at RCOT conference this year. Pam Anderson, our Executive Officer and I will be presenting a session about the Trust work but are also using it as an opportunity for a conversation with you about your needs and aspirations. Come and join us and share your thinking, as this will help the Trust incorporate the Occupational Therapy community’s needs into our future planning.

Periodically I’ll add to this blog, introduce you to our trustees, and set out new initiatives. You can get monthly updates on our work by subscribing to our email newsletter here. Good luck and we look forward to hearing from you, supporting new initiatives and projects that will further our profession just as Elizabeth Casson with her pioneering spirit intended when she established the Trust.

Our Values and Commitments

As a Trust, our charitable purpose is to support and advance the profession of Occupational Therapy. We do this by commissioning special projects and research, and funding professional development awards for individuals and teams.

Our values form the foundation for all we do and our commitments articulate the actions we take to demonstrate our living by our values. These are as follows:

  1. We are intentionally inclusive. Inclusivity runs through all of our business structure, developmental and funding intentions.
    1. We are intentionally aware of the need for greater diversity and representation across our work.
    2. We value integrity, openness and transparency.
  2. We embody a pioneering spirit. The unique spirit of Elizabeth Casson is visible and relevant in how we work and engage with others.
    1. We are focussed on sharing the spirit of Elizabeth Casson to create greater visibility, be more courageous and take appropriate risks across our relationships.
    2. We value tenacity, courage and innovation.
  3. A fabric of fairness runs through us. We are fair, balanced and considered in all of our interactions with others.
    1. We are open, honest and considered in how we do business.
    2. We value generosity, sharing and meaningful learning.

Read our 2020-2025 strategic intentions and operational framework.

Equality and Diversity

22 April 2021 The Trust held their Spring meeting this past week and confirmed two important decisions that link to our equality, diversity and inclusion work. The first is ratification of our 2020-2025 strategy, which has been built on the foundation of our Trust values and commitments. These can be viewed here. The second decision is approval of the recruitment of two new trustees to the Board. We are using an agency to help us in our search for one lay member and one occupational therapist. Our goal is to widen the diversity and skills of the Board to support us operationalising our new strategy and projects that will emerge from this. If you would like to be considered for the role of trustee, please email Liz Holderness to express interest. We will continue to provide updates as our work develops.

Read our earlier updates
Application Key Dates

Application Launch
International Scholarships
1st 01 November 2021 – pending travel restrictions lifting
2nd 01 November 2022
Conference Award
1st 01 September 2021
2nd 01 February 2022
Masters Level Studies
1st 01 August 2021
2nd 01 March 2022
Doctoral Studies
1st 01 July 2021
2nd 01 Feb 2022
Application Closing
International Scholarships
1st 31 January 2022
2nd 31 January 2023
Conference Award
1st 30 November 2021
2nd 15 April 2022
Masters Level study
1st 31 October 2021
2nd 31 May 2022
Doctoral Studies
1st 30 September 2021
2nd 30 April 2022
Application Outcome
International Scholarships
1st 14 March 2022
2nd 14 March 2023
Conference Awards
1st 15 January 2022
2nd 30 April 2022
Master Level study
1st 14 December 2021
2nd 14 July 2022
Doctoral Studies
1st 14 November 2021
2nd 14 June 2022

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