Mat Ilic's Story

Author: Mat Ilic
Mat Ilic's Story

Mat Ilic visited established community programmes in the USA that are working to give children and young people better chances.

The Fellowship

Mat travelled to the USA to explore different place-based and collective impact programmes, observe how these are being used to tackle the root causes of inequality and to support greater life chances for young people.

The aim was to provide operational insight for the development of West London Children's Zone – a new placed-based, collective impact initiative.

Stand-out programmes included the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which supports over 13,000 children ‘from cradle to college’ to improve academic outcomes, and Promise Neighbourhoods, which provides grants across 20 states enabling community-supported projects, with quality schools at the centre.

The Results

Mat’s Fellowship research has fed directly into the design and delivery of a new place-based, collective impact project, the West London Zone (WLZ). Inspired by the Harlem Children Zone and Promise Neighbourhoods, WLZ is a partnership between organisations and individuals working together to support children and young people across three square miles of south Brent, north Hammersmith, north Kensington and north Westminster to ensure that a full range of issues and needs are addressed, from learning to wellbeing.

It is a whole community approach involving schools, public services, charities, neighbourhood groups and private funders, breaking down isolated practices and ensuring that there is one complete team working to support young people.

Since its inception in 2015 WLZ has been supporting 120 children and young people. It plans to support over 13,000 children and young people across the zone over the next 10 years.

Mat has also been invited to speak at a meeting of the Association of Charitable Foundations, as well as a policy roundtable event at 10 Downing Street.