Working with partners: four case studies

“Our partnership with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has been essential in placing the UK at the cutting edge of good practice on arts and older people.” David Cutler, Director, Baring Foundation

Successful partnerships align the partners’ goals with the insights of Churchill Fellows, in order to impact an entire professional sector. Here are four examples of how it works:

If you would like to receive our partnership brochure or discuss becoming a partner, please email us on office@wcmt.org.uk or call 020 7799 1660.

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Partner: Rank Foundation

Award category: Communities that work

Rita LongThe Rank Foundation’s aim is to improve the lives of people and their communities across the UK by encouraging leadership and promoting enterprise and innovation. They acted as both a knowledge and funding partner for a dedicated Fellowship category focussed on a strategic theme for them: 'Communities that work'.

Sixty Fellowships were funded through this partnership over three years, exploring community regeneration through locally-led innovations. Rank provided expertise
in the subject, match-funded the Fellowships, and helped to recruit applicants and share findings.

The partnership offered an international dimension to the local grassroots work in which Rank specialises, and provided new ideas and models from successes overseas. It also progressed their strategic goals by developing a cohort of Fellows who have become catalysts across the whole field of community-led regeneration.

For example, Fellow Lindsay Graham has advocated for school-holiday food programmes for impoverished children, which have been taken up by the Welsh and Scottish governments and are being piloted across England with £2m of Government funding after a Private Members’ Bill at Westminster. And Fellow Geneva Ellis developed pilot programmes for two new children’s homes for young people who have experienced sexual exploitation, with £1.2m funding from the UK Government.

Findings from across this category were analysed in a report and factsheets that were launched at an MP-sponsored event at Westminster. Contacts there with funders and community organisations led to further funds and opportunities for Fellows’ projects.

The success of this first partnership led to a second one, focused on encouraging charities to become more sustainable through enterprise. David Sanderson, Chief Executive of The Rank Foundation, reflected: “Partnering with the Churchill Fellowship gave us access to international insights that complemented our grassroots activities and provided new models for progressing our goals.”

Partner: Baring Foundation

Award category: Creative ageing

Arts for older people. Photo courtesy of Stephanie WilliamsBaring Foundation has been a leading funder of arts projects for older people since 2010, having found that participatory arts can improve wellbeing and ease conditions such as dementia, arthritis and loneliness. A timely partnership with the Churchill Fellowship transformed a new therapeutic idea into a well-established professional field - in which the UK is now a leader.

The Foundation approached us in 2010 and together we developed a four-year Fellowship category on creative ageing. This has fostered a cohort of leading practitioners and an international community of arts-based therapists.

One outstanding result was a month-long festival of arts and dementia at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2018, devised by Fellow Nicky Taylor and co-ordinated by people living with dementia. It included public performances and a professional conference where Fellows presented their findings. Other successes include Kerry Rooney developing services for older people and drama in Northern Ireland, for which he received an MBE, and artist Chris Avis running seminars on Age And Art that led to her selection for the prestigious Schlachten exhibition in Berlin.

Baring helped us to develop the category and reach the sector. They hosted an annual seminar to share Fellows’ learning and funded Fellow Alice Thwaite to draw together the cohort’s findings into a report. This was launched at the International Arts in Health Conference in Bristol. Alice has gone on to become an internationally renowned champion and speaker on creative ageing.

Baring Foundation Director, David Cutler, summed up the overall impact: “Our partnership with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has been essential in placing the UK at the cutting edge of good practice on arts and older people.”

Partner: Mental Health Foundation

Award category: Mental health in the workplace

Fellow Amanda Wood at the Brian Bill Foundation retreat, FloridaThe Mental Health Foundation (MHF) identifies and addresses the sources of mental health problems. They worked with us as a knowledge partner, to develop a new Fellowship category on community-based approaches to mental health. This gave them increased access to international research and a network of Fellows for their policy work. It also resulted in a unique conference on mental health in the workplace, for human resource managers in all sectors.

Individual Fellows’ outcomes were wide-ranging. For example, police constable Adele Owen has established
a peer-support network to spread awareness of PTSD
in the force, and is informing the new National Blue Light Wellbeing Framework for emergency services. Child psychiatrist Sarah Maxwell used her findings to help an NHS Trust’s successful bid for £350,000 from the National Institute for Health Research to explore support for young people with personality disorder. And as a next step, MHF are organising live webinars for Fellows to discuss their findings globally, round-table briefings and factsheets.

MHF’s role was to help shape the category, promote it to applicants in the sector, and sit on selection panels for 20 Fellows
a year. Crucially, they also helped Fellows to increase impact, through mentoring, contacts and briefings with policy makers.

Isabelle Goldie, MHF’s Director of Development and Delivery, said: “Working with the Churchill Fellowship has been inspirational, allowing us to connect with so many talented people. The role it has played cannot be underestimated. It has raised the profile of mental health and developed future leaders in the field, who will help us make the UK
a mentally healthier place for future generations.”

Partner: Prison Reform Trust

Award category: Reducing reoffending

Fellow Sam Hart with the San Francisco PoliceThe Prison Reform Trust (PRT) works to create a just, humane and effective penal system. They provided the knowledge component of a multiple partnership that also included funding from four major donors: J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Trust, Lord Barnby’s Foundation and 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust. This wide-ranging support enabled us to create a Fellowship category on reducing reoffending, which was sufficiently funded to expand from 10 to 15 Fellows a year.

Research and recommendations from the partnership were featured in Lord Farmer’s 2017 report on strengthening prisoners’ family ties to reduce reoffending and intergenerational crime, and Fellows were invited to personally brief the Prisons Minister. Findings were turned into five policy briefs by researchers from Birkbeck’s Institute for Criminal Policy Research (paid for by our donors) and launched at round-table events for the prisons sector. There Fellows met with policy makers from the Prison Service and Ministry of Justice, sentencers and court practitioners, charities and think tanks.

Individual Fellows’ impacts included PC Mark Walsh establishing peer-led youth justice courts in Hampshire, prison governor Lynn Saunders establishing the Safer Living Foundation to prevent sexual crime and rehabilitate sexual offenders, and Carlotta Allum launching digital skills training for 140 prisoners a year funded by the Big Lottery.

Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, concluded: “The partnership provided an antidote to the introspection that can all too easily dominate the way we think about reform, in government or in the voluntary sector. The Fellows’ detailed insights offer challenge and inspiration, and a lasting legacy of accessible examples
to inform debate into the future.”

If you would like to discuss becoming a partner, please email us on office@wcmt.org.uk or call 020 7799 1660.