Britain’s facing challenges. Let’s find answers.
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Making Britain a better place to live in
Engage Britain is a new charity that brings people together to tackle our country’s biggest challenges.
People from all walks of life should have more say on the important decisions that affect them – like what happens to the NHS or how to get the care needed as they get older.
No one knows better than ordinary people what it’s like to live in Britain today – but too many aren’t involved in these conversations. Engage Britain wants to change that.
We support people across communities to share their different knowledge and experiences so they can work out ideas that answer the country’s problems.
Then we help them test those ideas in the real world, until they’re ready to be picked up by government.
By reaching across divides, people can improve each other’s lives and make our country a better place to live in.
There are loads of difficult challenges for people in this country right now. But what things are we all most worried about? Engage Britain has spent the past three years finding out. By listening to thousands of you across the country.
Health and care is the biggest challenge facing our country – as prioritised by the British public. And it’s become even more urgent during this pandemic.So from January 2021, health and care is going to be the focus of our first national conversation.
We need a new approach to find new answers
Britain faces a host of challenges that should have been addressed decades ago – such as sustainably funding health and care, providing opportunities for families living in poverty and protecting the environment. Some challenges we know are fundamentally divisive, like immigration. Others, like the coronavirus crisis, affect us all whilst highlighting the problems we’ve left to fester.
Our approach needs to change. We are perfectly capable of understanding the challenges we face, of engaging decently with each other despite our differences and of finding sustainable ways forward that reach across divides. We need everyone to get involved in making vital decisions about our lives and our society. We need to act now. It’s no longer just an option – it’s essential.
Finding answers by embracing our differences
We need to build lasting solutions – not just patch up and paint over, but find sustainable ways forward. In local communities across our country, people are already providing radical, simple answers in tackling seemingly impossible problems. We need to transfer this energy and ingenuity to tackling the challenges facing the entire nation.
We’ll bring together a range of different methods to support everyone who wants to be involved. Where the problem is rooted in our differences of opinion, we’ll be using deliberative techniques to build on the things we agree on. Where the problem needs new solutions, we’ll use design techniques to bring together people with different knowledge and experience to reinvent services. Where key voices have been excluded, we’ll make sure we’re all equally involved in finding answers.
Through all this, we’ll show that our different experiences, opinions and ways of solving problems actually improve debates and help create imaginative, practical and radical responses to the uncertainty of our times.
Why Engage Britain?
Engage Britain hosted a series of discussions across the country about the challenges we all face: here’s what people thought about the experience.
Nola Edwards is Chair of Foxhill Residents Association, Bath. Here’s what she’s learnt while campaigning to protect her local community.
Jon Clemo is Chief Executive of Community Action Norfolk. Here’s why he believes their collaborative, local approach needs to be adopted nationally.
Julian McCrae is the founding Director of the new charity, Engage Britain. Here’s why he believes what we’re doing is vital for our future.
I’ve spent 25 years in the world of public policy creation, including five years as Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, where I led the unit’s work on social mobility, welfare policies and economic growth.
Sadly, I’ve seen it fail time and time again on issues from housing to immigration. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that real ideas, important ideas, don’t start in government. They start with real people, in civic society.
I helped to set up Engage Britain because I truly believe that when we gather people from all parts of society – and commit to listening and learning from their experiences – we can create ideas that work and make real change.
I’ve spent a decade working in strategic communications, with a background in politics, charity governance and building non-profit start-up teams. Now, I’m leading the development of partnerships, networks and relationships for Engage Britain.
Having represented my community as a local Councillor, I sincerely believe in putting citizens and communities at the centre of compassionate and sustainable policymaking.
The prospect of helping solve the biggest challenges facing us, at a time when we really need solutions that bridge divides, sincerely excites me. I look forward to working with you to build a positive future for our country.
Throughout my career, I’ve helped brands connect with their audiences through their communications. Most recently, as Executive Director at Stonewall, I’ve worked alongside different people and communities to build campaigns that improve equality and result in tangible change.
Before that I worked for Metro Bank, leading on communications that helped to turn customers into fans and advocates.
As the world around us changes, so must the way we engage and communicate with the people around us. That’s why I’m excited to be joining the Engage Britain team. I firmly believe that by putting people’s passion, enthusiasm and experience front and centre, it’s possible to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our society. And most importantly, create meaningful change.
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