The Back Up Strategy

A family where the father is a wheelchair user - the Bck Up strategy is here to transform lives affected by spinal cord injury

The Back Up strategy is focused on finding better ways to support more people affected by spinal cord injury at times when they need us the most. You can read the full 2021-2025 Back Up strategy by clicking here, or watch our video for a digested version of what we hope to achieve by 2025.

Read our strategy here

Our Vision

Back Up’s vision is a world where people with spinal cord injury can reach their full potential

Our Mission

Our mission is to deliver services that build confidence, independence and inspire people affected by spinal cord injury to transform their lives.

Our Values

We embrace challenge

Challenge is central to our learning and growth; it helps us gain knowledge and skills. By finding ways to overcome challenge and move forward we gain a sense of achievement, supporting us to realise our full potential.

We have fun

We believe that having fun allows us to connect with others, whilst opening up opportunities to develop, achieve and get the most out of lifeshowing that there is a positive future after spinal cord injury.   

We build inclusive communities

We achieve more for people affected by spinal cord injury when we work together.  We are collaborative and inclusive in our approach. We embrace diversity, working with and supporting individuals, groups, and the wider spinal cord injury community, bringing people together.

We are ambitious for each other

We are driven by the needs of people with a spinal cord injury and their families. We are passionate, striving to be the best.  We set high standards, and we work hard to reach them.  We are proactive, push boundaries, try new approaches and we learn quickly. We recognise that failure doesn’t have to equal loss, rather an opportunity for growth. We listen to what people affected by spinal cord injury want and we seek innovative responses based on their feedback.

Our goals

Goal one – Living confidently: People with a spinal cord injury have the confidence and practical skills to live a full life

Goal two – Thriving at any age: All people with a spinal cord injury are able to reach their full potential.

Goal three – Staying connected: Everyone affected by spinal cord injury can connect with someone in a similar situation to themselves, to overcome challenges and achieve the goals that matter to them.

Components of success

A young wheelchair user - the Back Up strategy is here to transform lives affected by spinal cord injury

We have clear goals and a set of values to guide how we will achieve them. Our success will be built on the following components:

Being peer driven

The majority of our team either have, or are affected by, spinal cord injury. This lived experience shapes every service we offer and our approach. We will continue to engage with people affected by spinal cord injury about what matters to them so that we can ensure that Back Up provides the right support at the right time.

Growing fundraising to meet our ambition

Our strategy is ambitious. To achieve our goals, we will need to significantly increase our investment in our charitable objectives. We will implement a sustainable fundraising plan that adds £1 million to our income per year by 2025. By making better use of our data we will gain new insight into our donors and improve our donor journey. We will diversify our income streams offering flexible ways for people to support us.

Developing and empowering our people

We will embrace a learning culture to increase knowledge and performance. We will do this through peer-to-peer learning experiences, encouraging staff development through innovative working practices and creative thinking. We will align our staff development plans with our strategy and business plans to ensure our staff have the skills and tools they need. We will learn openly from mistakes, celebrate success and apply these principles to our wider volunteer team and board of trustees. We will actively continue to ensure that wellbeing is central.

Being inclusive

We want Back Up to be a place where everyone feels welcome.  We will do more to reach a diverse range of people affected by spinal cord injury and ensure that we are more reflective of the population we serve. This will be reflected in the stories, images and video we use for communications and marketing, as well as in our partnerships and volunteer recruitment. Our newly established Diversity and Inclusion Group will work to remove barriers which prevent people from engaging with Back Up. Our board will continue to have at least 50% representation of people affected by spinal cord injury. We will continue to ensure our calendar of fundraising and services events are inclusive for all those we serve.

Harnessing technology

Using new technology, we will innovate to increase impact, by creating digital versions of our key services so we will be able to reach more people virtually. These will complement our face-to-face services and increase our insight of the changing needs of our service users. We will build on learnings from virtual events to offer a mix of ways people can engage with Back Up and pilot the use of new platforms to drive competitive fundraising in challenge events.

Driving efficiency and effectiveness

We will continuously look for ways to become more efficient so that we can reach more people and have an even greater impact. We will improve the quality and understanding of our data to support our fundraising and to ensure we maximise the impact of our services. We will drive down our ratio of charitable to non-charitable spend from 65:35 to 70:30

Volunteers at our heart

Back Up was founded by volunteers and volunteering remains at the heart of everything we do. The contribution of our team of over 400 volunteers is felt throughout the whole organisation in all aspects of our work. We will find more ways for our volunteers to get involved across all departments, and strengthen the journey from service user to volunteer, ensuring volunteers are supported with the training and resources they need to succeed.

Compelling communications

Engaging and targeted communications tell the stories of those we support and help to raise national brand awareness. We will focus on our digital and social media presence, encourage user generated content and initiate high-profile PR campaigns which positively challenge the perceptions of all that is possible with a spinal cord injury.

Committed to collaboration

We will learn from others and work with partners to develop our services. By introducing share and learn sessions we will learn from other organisations about their experience of what works. By working more closely with other charities, the spinal cord injury centres and other organisations which can help us achieve our mission we will reduce duplication of effort and be able to target resources where needed.

Open and accountable

We will be transparent, measurable and accountable in all that we do. We will embrace our values in our day-to-day work, and keep the needs of people affected by spinal cord injury central to all we do.

Our progress towards our objectives

You can read our objectives here. Each financial year, we’ll report on our progress towards these objectives.

Here’s a review of our progress in 2022/2023.

You can also check out our progress in 2021/2022 here.

Help up us make the Back Up strategy happen

A family where the father is a wheelchair user in a park - the Back Up strategy is here to transform lives affected by spinal cord injury

Now you know our 2021-2025 strategy, you can help us make it happen. We can only achieve our ambitions by working with you – our supporters, volunteers, and partners. If our strategy has inspired you to get involved, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Make a donation

You can help us transform even more lives affected by spinal cord injury in the future by making a donation. Visit this page and donate towards our vital services


If you would like to volunteer for Back Up, we would love to hear from you. Visit our volunteering page to see what volunteering roles we have on offer.

Register for support

If you or a loved one has a spinal cord injury, we can help you live life to the full. You can register for our services here.

Additional resources

Components of success 

Our values

Our strategy on one page