In the first of a series of papers on funding for place-based systemic change, John provides a definition of place-based systemic change, looks at existing support for place-based systemic change and draws out the lines of inquiry.

Working with a steering group led by Save the Children, the key question Renaisi will explore is how funding can best be used to support long-term, place-based systemic change.

The research will also address how to use this learning to move away from short-term, simplistic and output-based approaches to resourcing social change.

The first phase of the work is designed to:

  1. build an understanding of how funding can best support local, place-based organisations and leaders to lead and support ‘systems change’ work;
  2. explore ways to support traditional funders and the national charity sector to better fund and support this type of work;
  3. develop a range of practical tools and/or proposed approaches which could be tested or piloted in future stages of work by the steering group; and,
  4. strengthen understanding, relationships and interest in place-based systemic change among steering group members and wider stakeholders.

Learning paper 1: definitions and issues

Learning paper 1 sets out the early learning and insight that will be used to frame and guide the work. It explores four key points at this early stage of the project, all of which will evolve as the project progresses:

  1. Definition of place-based systemic change
  2. Existing support for place-based systemic change
  3. Initial frames for exploration
  4. Learning questions and lines of inquiry

Download learning paper 1.

What is place-based systemic change?

The working definition developed by the group, building from their own practice and from discussion, is that place-based systemic change is not defined by issues, outcomes, organisations or any funding structure but is instead about:

  1. Time horizon – it is long term in ambition and practice
  2. Focus – it is not limited to a single organisation or service, but rather collective and interrelated practice
  3. Approach – it is engaged in building and developing relationships between people and organisations, it is flexible and responsive, and it explicitly engages in questions of complexity
  4. Scale – it is focussed on geographies that are coherent and understood by those who live in them, and to the systemic challenge.

The steering group

The Funding for Systemic Change project is overseen by a steering group of individuals from a range of social sector organisations and chaired by Save the Children UK. They share a deep understanding of place, systems change and/or complexity, and community- or place-based initiatives.

  • The Children’s Society
  • Collaborate CIC
  • Dartington Service Design Lab
  • Homeless Link
  • Save the Children UK
  • Lankelly Chase
  • The MEAM Coalition
  • The National Lottery Community Fund
  • New Philanthropy Capital (NPC)
  • North Camden Children’s Zone/ the Winch
  • West London Zone

Renaisi’s CEO John Hitchin leads this work and is supported by Head of Learning, Alice Thornton and Project Manager, Martha Aitken.

John Hitchin Renaisi CEO