How we collaborate

We invest in partnerships to achieve sustainable impact on health in our place and beyond.

The health issues we work on through our programmes are complex by nature. They benefit from many different perspectives and approaches.

For us, this means working well with lots of partners – from local communities to commercial businesses, and from grassroots organisations to public sector bodies.

Like many others, we believe that good collaboration takes time and effort. We take a long-term approach to building partnerships in place.

“The more we can make links between different activities going on locally, the more success and impact we will have.”

Jonathan Pauling, Alexandra Rose Charity (right)
Partner in our Faraday Neighbourhood Scheme

We believe that the quality of our partnerships and relationships has a direct and profound impact on our ability to drive better health.

We get good opportunities to practice working in partnership. Since the start of our new strategy, we’ve worked with over 100 local and national organisations.

We've learned that change doesn’t happen immediately. We experience first-hand the challenges of bringing together people and organisations with different agendas, priorities and timelines.

A few of the characteristics that underpin our approach to collaboration include the following.

1. Combining and connecting in place

We work to connect many different partners in place, each of whom bring their own expertise and solutions. For example, in our Faraday Neighbourhood Scheme we’re supporting a group of local and national organisations to deliver a range of activities encouraging healthier eating and more physical exercise. We bring these organisations together on a regular basis to discuss common lessons, shared impact measurement and their joint support needs.

2. Surfacing different voices

On complex health issues, no one person has all the answers. We work hard to surface different voices — especially those that are often overlooked. This means collaborating not just with formal decision-makers, but also with local residents — such as community and religious leaders — with vision, energy, ambition and knowledge who can bring others together and influence change.

3. Working across sectors

Our rounded, whole-systems approach to health issues means we work both across sectors and within them. For example, the national Taskforce on Multiple Conditions, which we helped set up in 2018, is bringing together people and organisations from the NHS, public bodies, charities and communities to drive forward solutions for people living with several chronic conditions.

4. Being a trusted voice ourselves

As an independent foundation we can take considered, evidence-based positions on complex issues. This helps make us a trusted voice amongst many different partners. For example, our work with The Consumer Goods Forum is helping the largest food retailers in the UK to work, in the context of fierce competition, towards the common goal of supporting better health among their customers.

5. Investing in capacity

We invest in long-term relationships. Many of these involve working with anchor organisations – partners who have a deep understanding of their place and community, and can help connect us to change on the ground. For example, in our Walworth Neighbourhood Scheme we’ve partnered with Pembroke House, a local community centre, to coordinate a partnership of voluntary, community and private organisations approaching multiple long-term conditions as something wider than health and healthcare.

We believe the best impact has its roots in honest and balanced relationships. Our approach is to make partnership working our default, challenging the traditional funder-grantee dynamic and flattening hierarchies. 

Our aim is to equip our partners with the tools - be it financial support, expertise or access to networks - that help them maximise the impact of their knowledge and connections.

And we strive to work in a truly collaborative way with our partners to improve health through our programmes.  

Combined with how we use knowledge and how we work at multiple scales, good collaboration is a pillar of our place-based, whole-systems approach.