‘What is the Elizabeth Casson Trust? ‘, we hear you ask. Some of you may be familiar with the name of Dr Elizabeth Casson – the founder of occupational therapy in the UK – through word of mouth; others of you may have never heard the name until the Year1 Thriving not surviving project started. Either way, we are excited to be able to fund this project and would like to thank all of those who have participated in its development.

You may also be wondering why the Elizabeth Casson Trust would commission this project? If you knew that our Charitable Purpose is the ‘furtherance of occupational therapy’, it would probably become clear.

Dr Casson (1881-1954) was a doctor who also earned a diploma in psychological medicine. She recognised the value of occupation for the recovery of individuals from ill health and made it her life’s work to embed this ethos in practice. Dr Casson funded the first school of occupational therapy in 1930 and established the Trust that holds her name in 1949. What a lady – and what drive and determination!

As custodians of the funds the Trust now holds, we aim to continue Dr Casson’s work to advance the profession and support the development of occupational therapists. Take a look at our trustees – it’s quite possible you’ll recognise one or two names from the world of OT – practice, education and research.

It is easy to think that ‘advancing’ might just mean stretching or reaching higher – so research and PhDs – but for the trustees this is only part of what we hope to achieve. Developing is a continuum and we want to start at the very beginning – hence our interest in the first year of an occupational therapist’s professional life.

Thriving is the goal: cementing your professional identity and growing the confidence to have a voice. Leaders may emerge even at this stage of a career and we want to foster this.

As you find your feet and are ready for further growth, mentoring may help you along, or you may find you’d like to acquire new skills or knowledge. The Trust can be here to help you with this through our funding.

Others may prefer a more formal development route and want to return to study for a masters or even doctorate; again, the Trust offers funding to support this. Still others may be keen to adventure and take learning to other countries and bring learning back ours – our international scholarship is for them.

And for the times when you just want to surround yourself with other occupational therapists for the opportunity to refocus on occupation and why we value this, then perhaps attending an occupational therapy conference is for you. Whatever your route for development, the Trust can be here for you; take a look at all support and development opportunities here.

So, let’s continue the trend of word-of-mouth for letting people know about the Trust and its work for occupational therapists, but this time let’s shout it loudly so others can benefit and, ultimately, so too can our profession.