Our legacy and yours

How gifts left to CPAG have had an impact over the years

A large part of CPAG’s success over the years has been built on the legacies we have received from our members and supporters, including from our founders.

In 1996, we were kindly left a gift in the will of founder Brian Abel-Smith. It was thanks to this and other legacy gifts that we were able to purchase a building with a purpose-built training suite to offer courses for hundreds of advisers each year. Brian’s legacy lives on to this day: CPAG now reaches over 10,000 advisers and frontline workers each year through our training, conferences, seminars and online resources, and we distribute over 19,000 handbooks and publications.

In 1992, Mary Barker, author of “Theories of Practice in Social Work”, also remembered CPAG in her will and we received her very generous gift in 2019. This was also the year when CPAG’s judicial review proceedings ensured that between £100 and £150 million pounds would be paid out to around 70,000 disabled people who were underpaid when they were moved from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA).

Longstanding member, Biddy Macfarlane who passed away in 2020, kindly remembered us in this way too. Biddy – one of only two female solicitors in Bristol when she qualified in 1954 – had been a CPAG member for 38 years. Throughout her life and career, she had very strong feelings about justice for people and those disadvantaged by not having the means of support or representation of themselves and their rights.

And we also received a gift left by Daphne Norbury. Daphne had been a member and supporter of CPAG for 32 years. Her gift in April 2020 helped us rapidly respond to families across the country who found themselves facing additional financial pressures because of the pandemic.

Our work is only possible thanks to supporters like Brian, Mary, Biddy and Daphne. For fifty-five years, CPAG has worked relentlessly to ensure children’s voices are heard, that families struggling financially are supported and that decision-makers are held to account.

We are grateful to everyone who has remembered us in this way. Your support has been and will continue to be invaluable.


Welfare Benefits Handbooks through the years



The Handbook, familiar to all advisers, was first published in 1972, edited by Ruth Lister, now Baroness Lister of Burtersett, CPAG’s Honorary President.

Ruth is also kindly remembering CPAG in her will and you can read her story here.