Q: How is Engage Britain funded?
A: Engage Britain was originally founded by the Hands Family Trust, a philanthropic trust established by Julia and Guy Hands to extend access across society.
Since 1998, the Hands family have supported a number of causes, including the Prince’s Trust and Duke of Edinburgh Awards. The trust considers a range of potential beneficiaries but places particular emphasis on increasing access to education and economic opportunities, especially for disadvantaged children and families in poverty.
The family works with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Mansfield College, Oxford in its efforts to make sure people from all backgrounds have access to Oxford University. Currently 91% of Mansfield’s undergraduates come from state schools, compared to 69% for the next highest college.
Q: Why did the Hands Family Trust set up Engage Britain?
A: Through their philanthropic trust, Julia and Guy Hands wanted to set up an independent charity which gives people in Britain a say in the big decisions that affect their lives, to help make our country work for everyone. Hear more about their motivation in Guy’s own words.
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 people who live with the reality of their policies day in day out. We want to work with people from all backgrounds, views and political affiliations to start making changes in Britain in a new way – by rooting them in real people’s lives.
Q: Are you a think tank?
A: We’re a registered charity. Unlike most think tanks, we have no ties to any parties or agenda of our own. Our aim is simply to amplify real voices from communities around the country. We bring people together with different views, knowledge and experiences from across Britain. And we support them to debate, and then create, realistic plans for change they want to see.
Q: We haven’t been able to solve these issues for years. How will Engage Britain change anything?
A: The reason things haven’t changed is because they haven’t started with people first. The only way to really solve the big problems our country faces, like health and care, is by understanding what people live through every day. Our country will be stronger by finding practical, realistic solutions to its problems together.
Q: But isn’t is the job of our politicians, and the government, to fix these problems?
A: This isn’t about any one government or political party. For decades we’ve relied on our political system to make decisions which affect the lives of millions of us but are often taken without talking to us about it. We need to start making change rooted in real lives. We’re urging the government to listen to what really matters to people before making changes.