At a meeting on 14 September 2016 to discuss the conclusions of a consultation on Progressio’s future, the charity’s Trustees and Chair of Trustees took the decision to close Progressio in March 2017. The decision was taken on the basis that Progressio was not able to secure sufficient levels of income to ensure a viable future post March 2017. Martin McEnery, Progressio’s Chair of Trustees, said:

“The decision to close Progressio was taken with deep regret and sadness, and it was made despite intensive fundraising efforts and many years of investing to diversify income. This decision was agreed and supported by all trustees. Unfortunately, the funding landscape has become increasingly competitive and we were unable to replace the £2 million unrestricted grant per annum from the Department for International Development (DFID) which came to an end in December 2016. 

“Closure arrangements have proceeded in a planned manner, which has ensured the responsible handover of work, fulfilment of liabilities and other duties. I would like to thank all our staff and volunteers who have continued to deliver programme and campaigning activities with unstinting passion and commitment through the closure period.

We are hugely proud of all that has been achieved since the charity was founded in 1940. In particular, we appreciate and are grateful to all our staff, our members and supporters, our Development Workers and our volunteers in the UK and overseas, and in recent years our International Citizens Service volunteers.

"We want to thank our longstanding partners, such as DFID, who have supported our overseas work for many decades and have allowed us to change and impact so many people’s lives in the Global South. We also want to thank VSO, the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) and all our major funders, donors and partner organisations. Your support and our partnerships have enabled us to reach out to more people living in some of the world’s most fragile communities.

Your support and dedication helped our partners and some of the world’s most marginalised communities achieve incredible things, empower themselves and challenge unfair power structures.

“Our thoughts now are with the people and staff we have worked alongside in the Global South, such as the Yemeni, Somali, Southern African and Central American men, women and young people as they continue to work to counter deeply entrenched abuses of their rights and violence targeted against them, while striving for sustainable livelihoods and to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.

“Arrangements have been made to hand over some externally funded projects to third parties in collaboration with our donors, so some of our programmatic work will continue post closure.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this journey with us, we could not have continued to achieve so much without you. There is no doubt that Progressio’s legacy will live on in the lives that have been changed.

To ensure that Progressio’s rich resource of historical and contemporary research, comment and other publications remain available to the public, many of our archive materials have been catalogued and are deposited with Westminster Diocesan Archives, and will be accessible to readers. Some Progressio archives are also deposited in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

Before 2017 closure, Progressio commissioned a digital publication, A Record of Change in a Changing World: from the fight against fascism to the struggle for sustainable development – how the Sword of the Spirit, CIIR and Progressio worked for international relations advancing social justice, to document the organisation’s 76 years of work and preserve and promote its legacy. For further information and to download the full publication and a timeline summary of the organisation’s life, click here.

To learn more about the closure of Progressio, please see our statement from September 2016. 

For a snapshot of Progressio’s history, please see the short history of Progressio from our 2015 Magazine here.

If you have any questions with regards to Progressio governance, please contact Martin McEnery, Progressio’s pre-closure Chair of Trustees, by emailing

For all other enquiries, please contact James Collins, Progessio’s pre-closure Chief Executive, by emailing

Progressio income generation project in Dominican Republic-Haiti 2015

Questions and Answers

Q. Why has Progressio closed?


As projects and their associated funding came to a close at the end of the financial year in 2017, we faced starting April 2017 with less than £90,000 in secured grant income, plus our programme-related International Citizen Service funding, which did not cover the costs of the essential core functions of the charity. We explored all avenues to try to secure sources of unrestricted funds. Like many charities, particularly those working overseas, we found it more and more difficult and were unable to secure sufficient sources of unrestricted funds.

Q What were the timescales for the closure?


The process of closing Progressio started when the charity’s Trustees and Chair of Trustees took the decision to close Progressio at the board meeting on 14 September 2016. Progressio ceased operations on 31 March 2017 and closed as an organisation on 30 June 2017, with final deregistration with Companies House and the UK Charity Commission completed in March 2018.

Q What will happen with the organisation's name?


Progressio was the working name of the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR). Any subsequent use of the name Progressio or the name CIIR has no connection with the now closed organisation.

Q What happened to your work programmes?


Programmes that were funded up to March 2017 continued as normal as much as it was possible until the end of February 2017. We handed over some externally funded projects to third parties in collaboration with our donors, so some of our programmatic work continued post closure.

Q What happened to the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme?


For the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, our sub-contract passed back to the ICS contract holder Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

Q What happened to your staff?


Understandably, staff – as well as trustees, partners, funders and supporters – were upset by this news. But they understood the situation the organisation was in, and because of their outstanding work over the years, there was a great deal of respect and affection for Progressio and we are grateful to everyone for their support and kind words.
Unfortunately, all staff here and in-country were made redundant between January and March 2017. All staff were supported both on a professional and personal level.

Q How did the consultation work?


Before the Board decided on closure, Progressio conducted an extensive consultation, inviting comments, suggestion and support from Progressio’s staff, supporters, donors, members and partners. All contributions were recorded and we held meetings with staff, trustees and key stakeholders to attempt to secure the future of Progressio. In recent years, and including during the consultation, we did all we could to secure major donor funds and held conversations with various organisations about the possibility of a merger. The consultation ended on 14 September 2016 and culminated in a Board decision to begin the process of closing the organisation based on the outcome of the consultation, which ultimately did not result in sufficient unrestricted funding being raised or pledged, and no other funding avenue being made available.

Q I am currently donating by direct debit/standing order. What should I do?


Thank you so much for your generous support over the years. Everyone who has a direct debit or standing order set up with Progressio was contacted prior to closure, to advise them to cancel any direct debits or standing orders. In March, Progressio cancelled all remaining direct debits.
If you have a standing order, but have not yet cancelled it, please cancel it as we are not able to cancel standing orders on your behalf. Otherwise, these will automatically stop when Progressio’s bank account closes in June 2017.

Q I have pledged a legacy donation to Progressio. What should I do?


Thank you so much for thinking of Progressio for your legacy donation. A few months prior to closure, we contacted everyone who has expressed an interest in leaving a legacy donation to Progressio, according to our records, to advise them to remove Progressio from their will. If you have pledged a legacy to Progressio in your will, we advise that you please take steps to remove Progressio from your will and reconsider which charitable organisation you would like to leave your legacy donation to.

Q I am interested in Progressio publications, where can I find them?


Many of Progressio’s publications, including the legacy publication, will remain available on our archived website. To ensure that Progressio’s rich resource of historical and contemporary research, comment and other publications remain available to the public, many of our archive materials have been catalogued and are deposited with Westminster Diocesan Archives, and will be accessible to readers.
Some Progressio archives are also deposited in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.


Yemeni women supported by Progressio's WASH project 2014. © Amira Al-SharifProgressio