The Origins of the Project
The Mohn Westlake Foundation is dedicating significant funding for the next seven years to the Reach Foundation to deliver the Feltham Convening Project. The Reach Foundation is committed to ensuring that the project, which will be led by an appointed Steering Group, achieves substantial, sustainable improvements to the lives of local babies, children, young people and families.
Since 2012, Reach has learnt a lot about the lives of local young people, parents and families through Reach Academy and Reach Children’s Hub. Through the Academy and the Hub, Reach provides education and support to hundreds of local people, but the Reach Foundation leadership know that the only way to achieve lasting, significant change in any community is through genuine collective effort among a wide range of local stakeholders: schools, council departments, local services, local organisations, local businesses, parents, and young people.
The Feltham Convening Project is a vessel for this genuine collective effort to improve lives in Feltham – convening passionate local decision-makers, community leaders, residents, parents and young people to set and achieve ambitious goals for the local community.
We have been inspired by successful projects from both the UK and the US which have used ‘collective impact’ approaches to deliver positive change for children, young people, parents and communities, such as Strive Together, Right to Succeed and Black Thrive. These projects have created a substantial evidence base for the effectiveness of collective impact approaches. We are confident that Feltham has what it takes to achieve similar success through a collective impact project.
Our “Collective Impact” approach
Collective impact projects aim to harness the expertise, insights and ideas of multiple different people and organisations in order to achieve significant change together. Rather than just helping many individual organisations do things differently, the fundamental aim of collective impact projects is for different organisations and people to learn together about particular community problems and community assets, decide upon strategies for action, and then work together to deliver carefully-considered and joined-up activities which can achieve lasting change.
In order to enable these partnerships to develop and work together effectively, collective impact projects are supported by a ‘backbone’ or ‘planning’ team which provides operational and administrative support to all the project’s partners – taking care of the nuts and bolts of the work so that everyone else who is involved can focus on making decisions and deciding upon actions.
In the case of the Feltham Convening Project, the idea is to bring together all of the key organisations and services in the local area whose work and activities influence the lives of 0-21 year-olds and their families. The goal is that, through professionally, neutrally facilitated discussion, these partners can agree upon a set of common goals to pursue for local children and young people, and achieve them by working collectively. Each partner plays a role which matches their expertise, capacity and level of resource.
What the Feltham Convening Project could achieve
The project is aimed at delivering significant, lasting changes which will make life better for local children and young people. We want all local children and young people – and those who care for them – to have access to the support and provision they need to flourish, and to reach their potential. Through this project, we have a unique opportunity to galvanise and enable collective impact in Feltham to pursue this mission over the next seven years.
Over the course of those seven years, we will aim to pull together and support every organisation, service, institution and business in the local community that has an influence over the lives of children, young people and families: those that care for them, employ them, educate them, run activities for them, and keep them safe. Working together, using an expertly-facilitated and evidence-based process, those who have a stake in Feltham’s younger generation and who have the capacity to affect their future will agree a plan to improve their outcomes. Adapting the methods used by other collective impact projects across the United States and Britain, we can transform the lives of local children and young people.