About Engage Britain
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.
Why is this needed?
Britain faces a host of challenges that should have been addressed decades ago – such as sustainably funding health and care and 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.
How we’ll get there
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is Engage Britain funded?
A: Our work is funded by donations. We’ve secured an initial contribution from the Hands Family Trust, the philanthropic trust established by Julia and Guy Hands to extend access across society; we also receive support-in-kind from Regus, the workspace provider. We will broaden our contributors over time.
Q: Is Engage Britain affiliated with any political party?
A: No – we are politically neutral. Our goal is to make sure that politicians from all parties hear from the people who live with the consequences of their policies on a daily basis. We have no political bias. We put identifying, discussing and solving problems in the hands of everyday people.
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.
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