Big changes start locally

Collaboration in the North East


Three years ago the North East Collaboration Working Group was formed. They were a handful of people from the private, public and voluntary sectors who got together to start a region-wide conversation about collaboration. This was the exam question - ‘If we agreed to find ways to get past any real or perceived barriers, what would it look like for collaboration to be the norm across the North East, and how can we take the first steps towards making it happen?’

The group agreed to achieve four things:

  • Produce inspiring case studies of current examples of collaboration in our region
  • Run Action Learning Sets to enable leaders to learn together
  • Organise a successful conference
  • During that conference, launch the Collaboration Action Fund to create space for potential partnerships who wished to work together to collaborate before starting their projects.

All of this work was completed and the Collaboration Action Fund, created by Virgin Money Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Lily Lewis, funded 8 collaborations. The value of the project was documented by Joanne James of Newcastle University who has produced an evaluation of this work. Her report outlines the learning from these partnerships across themes including leadership, risk, vulnerability, power dynamics, time and motivation. Enjoy reading her report, we hope that this will inspire you to start or carry on collaborating!

Nancy Doyle-Hall

Executive Director

Virgin Money Foundation

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