About Us

Fairer Future, a not-for-profit social enterprise, was established to improve people’s understanding of poverty: why it continues in 21st century UK, how people get pulled into it, why it’s so hard to break free, and what can be done to help. We provide training, consultancy services and project work to support teams and projects wanting to develop effective partnerships and outcome-focused plans.

Fairer Future’s Director and trainer, Mary Sherwood, had a varied and nomadic childhood, living in very affluent and very deprived neighbourhoods, observing first-hand how your postcode alters the way service providers respond to you.

After gaining a degree in Communication Studies – which explored some of the unfair systems that lock people into poverty – Mary worked for 12 years in third sector organizations aiming to improve life for people in difficult situations, before moving into the public sector. Ten years later she was elected to Swansea council, serving in a cabinet position with a focus on implementation of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, and the Equality Act, then as chair of the council’s Policy Development Committee for Poverty Reduction.

From 2017 to 2021 Mary shared the role of Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Spokesperson for Equality, Anti-Poverty and Welfare Reform.  She is also Grants & Development Manager for Gower Power Co-op CIC, a sustainable development consultancy with a focus on achieving economic, social and environmental benefits for communities.

In 25 years of practice, Mary has encountered the same problems again and again, across all sectors. People understand that poverty is worsening, they care about what this means for those directly affected, and they may realise there are negative impacts for the whole of society. But they hesitate to speak about it with confidence, feeling confused by official terminology, the complex benefits system, and things they’ve read or seen (“Why DO people on such low incomes have such huge TVs …?”).  Fairer Future was established to address this, and provide definitions, models and tools you can use to be effective in discussing and addressing poverty.

With a sound understanding – from the inside – of the voluntary & community sector and of local government, Mary is superbly well equipped to support newly formed partnerships and teams with different levels of local government experience.

Associate Trainers
Mary works with a range of partners who may support Fairer Future from time to time. Part of our training is about the importance of involving people with direct, recent experience of low income, who may act as co-trainers on certain projects.

Workplaces, organisations and communities in which people understand poverty and can do their best work to achieve a fairer, healthier, more prosperous society.

To provide training and support which enables people to understand UK poverty traps, and do their best work towards a fairer, healthier, more prosperous society.