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Shared Ground Fund: Our Approach to Making Change

Alex Sutton, Senior Grants Manager

Migration generates opportunity for social, economic and cultural enrichment. But it also creates challenges for those who have moved or been displaced, and those experiencing change in their communities. In this large and complex field, Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) focuses on supporting young people who migrate and on strengthening integration so that communities can live well together. At PHF, we seek to be partners, not just funders in change efforts. That’s why we feel it’s crucial to share the thinking and approach to making change that underpins our Shared Ground Fund, as well as where we plan on focusing our energies and resources moving forward.

Our analysis

How people think and talk about migration is important. Opinion polls reveal 25% of the public are supportive of migration, 25% against and an anxious 50% concerned with the pace of change and life chances for their children. To move towards a more progressive policy agenda, engaging the anxious middle is key. We want to see a better informed and less polarised debate about migration. One in which young people with experience of migration are encouraged to share their stories and the challenges they’ve faced.

We cannot disassociate the vulnerability of people upon arrival from the experiences, costs and risks of migrating. Programmes on migration should take a holistic view. Supporting work which advocates for safe and legal routes represents one example.

If we focus on long term change, we can’t forget about the immediate needs of people. Access to support services, such as housing and immigration advice, is essential if we want young people who migrate to stay safe and communities that experience high levels of migration to live well together.

There are real opportunities to enact change and improve integration at a local level. The devolution agenda reduces the distance between civil society and those they may seek to influence. Young people who migrate should be encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity by sharing their experiences with their communities and policy makers to increase understanding and directly inform integration programmes.

Our approach

We want to foster systemic change by funding work that has potential for wider impact and influence.

We recognise we do not have the level of resource to meet level of need, so will fund service delivery only when it can inform how other organisations perform similar work.

We believe young people have agency to create change. While we recognise the contributions of professionals, we must work harder to make space for youth voice and ensure that young people lead change efforts in decisions, policies and programmes that shape their lives.

Organisations need investment in their core to be more strategic and less reactive. This includes for example, communications capacity. Communicating strategically–framing messages, informing local opinion and reaching beyond our sector–requires expertise and resource.

Strong relationships are integral to movement building. We seek to build strong relationships with our partners, and make links amongst them where interests overlap and to address gaps in knowledge.

Our approach to making change is inter-related to our method of capturing learning. We aim to be both a reflective and a proactive foundation, learning from our partners who hold expertise and up-to-date information based on first-hand experience, as well as through our own horizon scanning and analysis. This will inform our own theory of change and our decision making.

Priorities for the year ahead

Broad coalitions are an important part of a vibrant movement–to this end, we want to reach beyond our usual partners to form links across the human rights, race equality and youth sectors. We will also ensure that funding is directed at organisations across the UK, both those working nationally as well as those rooted in local communities.

Read more about the Shared Ground Fund. Details of grants made through this fund are available in our grants database.


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