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Increasing Access – January 2022

Increasing Access is our bi-annual publication with interviews and articles on the impact of our pro bono and community investment work around the world.

This issue features an article on our work to find legal pathways to safety in the U.S. for Afghan asylum seekers, an overview of international efforts to tackle racial inequalities, and our regular ‘Ten Questions’ interview with Global Head of Technology Services, Simon Wagstaff, who leads the Belfast Grants Committee of the A&O Foundation.

Also in this issue is a final round-up of our Global Charity Partnership with Hope and Homes for Children, which saw the firm contribute a record GBP2.3m, as well as news of our new partnership with Street Child and a project to improve paths to secondary education in Sierra Leone.

Featured articles

Legal mechanisms to tackle racial injustice

Focusing on minority groups is a long-standing theme of pro bono and community investment work across A&O. But 2020 – with the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations they sparked worldwide – was a tipping point for A&O and many other businesses.

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Finding paths to safety for Afghans

When President Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. and allied armed forces from Afghanistan beginning in May 2021, A&O’s existing work to support U.S. asylum applications for Afghans moved up a gear.

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Street Child - A&O’s new Global Charity Partner

Socio-economic background still has a huge impact on children’s life chances around the world, so A&O’s new Global Charity Partnership will bring the firm’s resources together to raise GBP1m and provide significant pro bono support for Street Child’s work over two years.

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Ten questions for… Simon Wagstaff, Global Head of Technology Services

Simon Wagstaff joined A&O in Belfast four years ago and is Global Head of Technology Services – the team that provides all IT support for A&O globally. Simon also leads the Belfast Grants Committee, which allocates A&O Foundation funding to local charities in Northern Ireland.

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