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Commonweal Housing: Replicating interventions to address social injustice

Over the past 18 months, we have been working alongside Commonweal Housing to help them enhance the way they use learning and evaluation to inform their work on housing solutions for social injustice.

Our work with Commonweal has coincided with the culmination of the charity’s ten-year
 Re-Unite project . In many ways, Re-Unite was a formative project for Commonweal – it was one of the charity’s earliest projects, and while it was successfully replicated it also faced considerable policy challenges. As the charity moved on from Re-Unite to new projects, they wanted to be sure that they were taking what they had learned with them. 

This framework shows Commonweal Housing’s approach to piloting interventions that address social injustice, then replicating these solutions. 

Community accountability in community business

What does it mean for businesses to be accountable to their community? We carried out 12 in-depth case studies of community businesses, who understood community accountability as being responsible, responsive to and engaged with their community. The idea of being accountable to the community was at the heart of who they are and how they work; and helped them to operate with dual drivers – to serve their community and to be a viable business. As they said, they were not businesses that decided to involve the community, but rather community members who decided to set up a business.

Our final report draws learning from the case studies, a literature review and a series of interviews. You can visit the Power to Change website to read: 

 

Detained Fast Track Litigation Case Study: Detention Action

Are you interested in the practice of bringing lawsuits to effect social change? This case study, commissioned by Detention Action, looks at the collaborative process that led to the suspension of the Detained Fast Track. We highlight the success factors, risks and challenges, ending with  four lessons from the strategic litigation: 

 

  • Issues suitable for strategic litigation are likely to be entrenched, highly politicised, unlawful, well-evidenced and well-timed
  • Using strategic litigation as a campaign tool is a huge undertaking for a small organisation, and relies on quick, strategic decision-making in response to a shifting external context
  • A well thought through advocacy strategy that considers the external political and policy environment, carefully considering what approaches to use
  • Having a capable and mature NGO to front a coalition – someone to ‘put [their] head above the parapet and undertake the largely invisible legwork of building a collaboration

 

The Detention Action case study sits alongside another report by Dr Vanhala of UCL, examining Just for Kids Law’s intervention in R v Tigere in the Supreme Court. This case concerned the denial of student loans to lawfully resident young people who were not British citizens. In this blog, Shauneen Lambe from Just for Kids Law sets out the key findings from both case studies and invites NGOs and lawyers in the UK to think about how the law can be used to bring about social change. 

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation: learning in responsive grant-making

The theme for the third UK roundtable was ‘learning in responsive grant-making’. Around 20 trustees, current and former staff and grantees of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation agreed to be interviewed for a teaching case telling the story of how the Foundation has developed its approach to, and use of, learning over the past 15 years.

Sussex Community Foundation Unrestricted Funding Study

In 2016 Sussex Community Foundation commissioned IVAR to carry out a study exploring the value of unrestricted grants made to four organisations working with children and young people in Sussex. This was a new way of working for Sussex Community Foundation – bringing together unrestricted, larger grant-making and multi-year elements for the first time.

The initial impetus for this programme came from the Blagrave Trust, which has a strategic interest in unrestricted funding. Specifically, funders were interested in ‘looking to see how the grant would enable local organisations to make a significant step change in their ability to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children’.

The research highlights the range of ways organisations have used the funding to:

• Explore new ideas and plan for the future
• Working towards financial sustainability
• Strengthening organisational structure and systems
• Using research to improve services

The funding led to increased confidence, stronger networks and in some cases, an ability to influence the local environment. However, change was not without its challenges and organisations were faced with challenges around leadership, strategy and operations as they developed.

York Pathways: Supporting individuals experiencing mental distress

This case study is one of five exploring how independent charitable funders and local, regional and national public agencies can work together in a given geographic area. 

The case studies are part of IVAR’s wider work on place-based funding approaches, which includes Working in Place: A framework for developing and designing place-based funding approaches and Working in Place: Collaborative funding in practice.


York Pathways is a service that supports individuals experiencing a range of mental health support needs, including people who have complex needs such as substance misuse issues or a history of offending. It was set up with the express intention not just to fill gaps in services and reduce demand on the emergency services but to identify where the gaps were and identify long-term solutions for tackling the issues, centered around improving multi-agency relationships and partnerships.

Partnership Drugs Initiative: A national approach to local funding in Scotland

This case study is one of five exploring how independent charitable funders and local, regional and national public agencies can work together in a given geographic area. 

The case studies are part of IVAR’s wider work on place-based funding approaches, which includes Working in Place: A framework for developing and designing place-based funding approaches and Working in Place: Collaborative funding in practice.

The Partnership Drugs Initiative (PDI) is run by the Corra Foundation (previously called Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland) in partnership with Scottish Government and the Robertson Trust. The PDI provides funding to charities working with children and young people affected by substance issues, and produces insights for policy and practice. It operates across Scotland, working with regional Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and third sector organisations to align funding to local needs.

Inclusion Plus: A Public Social Partnership in Dundee

This case study is one of five exploring how independent charitable funders and local, regional and national public agencies can work together in a given geographic area. 

The case studies are part of IVAR’s wider work on place-based funding approaches, which includes Working in Place: A framework for developing and designing place-based funding approaches and Working in Place: Collaborative funding in practice.


Inclusion Plus aimed to ‘develop a long-term national model for school-focused intervention with additional family support that significantly reduces school exclusion while enhancing learning opportunities and improving the chance of moving into positive destinations by the young people involved’. 

Inclusion Plus was a city-wide programme delivered in four secondary schools in Dundee by three voluntary sector delivery partners – Apex Scotland, Includem and Skillforce. 

In its first two years, the programme supported 1,250 young people. In each school, Apex operated an Inclusion Unit, Skillforce offered an alternative curriculum once a week in place of one subject, and Includem provided intensive support outside school hours to a small number of families with complex needs.

Young Harrow Foundation: Embedding the Young People’s Foundation model in Harrow

This case study is one of five exploring how independent charitable funders and local, regional and national public agencies can work together in a given geographic area. 

The case studies are part of IVAR’s wider work on place-based funding approaches, which includes Working in Place: A framework for developing and designing place-based funding approaches and Working in Place: Collaborative funding in practice.

Young Harrow Foundation is based on John Lyon’s Charity’s new model of support for voluntary sector organisations working with children and young people, within a climate of decreasing statutory provision and support. Young Harrow Foundation is one of seven Young People’s Foundations, which seek to find new ways to strengthen relationships between funders and local organisations, and to establish more effective ways of supporting and delivering activities to meet the needs of children and young people.