Citizenship & Integration Initiative

Trust for London, in partnership with Unbound Philanthropy, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, City Bridge Trust and the Pears Foundation established an initiative in 2016 to support Londoners of all backgrounds to have meaningful opportunities to participate in the life of the city and the decisions that affect them.

The Citizenship and Integration Initiative brings together funding from independent foundations and expertise from civil society to work closely with the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority to advance shared goals on social integration.

What's the issue?

London's diversity is one of its greatest strengths and a reason why so many of us choose to live here. Over one third (37%) of Londoners were born outside of the UK. But, whilst 640,000 Londoners have become British citizens in the past 11 years, 54 per cent of Londoners born abroad don’t hold a British passport including many European Union citizens who, pre-Brexit, were exercising rights to free movement and did not need to apply for one. There are an estimated 133,000 young Londoners who have grown up in the capital but cannot access higher education or work because they have irregular migration status. All of these groups want to contribute to and engage with our society, but are not able to because of these barriers. 

We want all Londoners to be able to be active citizens who are involved and invested in their city.

What are we doing?

The Citizenship and Integration Initiative (CII) works closely with civil society and the Mayor of London to advance our shared goals on social integration. These are:  

  1. PARTICIPATION: Encouraging active citizenship and increasing voter registration
  2. EQUALITIES: Supporting young Londoners and Europeans to secure their legal rights
  3. RELATIONSHIPS: Creating a hospitable environment for Londoners

The CII has two main approaches to try and meet these goals: 

  • The first is to fund secondments from civil society organisations into the GLA's Social Integration team.
  • The second is to support community-based projects that further the initiative's goals.

All partners in the Citizenship and Integration Initiative believe that the only way to achieve meaningful change towards its goals is for civil society organisations, funders and the public sector to collaborate, drawing on the strengths and resources of all.

An advisory board to the initiative includes Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, contributing funders, civil society organisations and independent experts.

What have we funded?


The CII has funded secondees into the GLA’s Social Integration Team from Migrants Organise, Citizens UK, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Doctors of the World, Just for Kids Law (Let us Learn), New EuropeansHope Not Hateand Project 17.  The GLA has made an equivalent investment into staffing posts in the Social Integration Team. 

The secondees supported the development of the GLA's Social Integration Strategy, 'All of Us' which was launched in May 2018, to develop and deliver projects and policy initiatives that progress the shared goals.


The CII has also provided funding for three projects outside of the GLA:

  • Supporting the participation of local volunteering organisations in a research project to test interventions in Citizenship Ceremonies to increase the take up of active citizenship opportunities resulting in Guidance for Local Authorities.
  • A pilot to test the provision of legal advice to children with insecure status, based in primary schools and rooted in a community organising approach with parents. This is being delivered by Citizens UK in partnership with Coram Children's Legal Centre and King's College London. 
London Voices banner

London Voices

The journey to full participation

Comprehensive research into the mechanisms that can facilitate equal, inclusive, representative civic and democratic participation, from the Young Europeans Network of the 3Million.

Find out more

What have we achieved?

Here is what the Mayor of London says about the initiative:

I want every Londoner to be able to actively participate in the life of our great city – that’s why we are working to help them access their citizenship rights, have their say in the decisions that affect them and feel like they have the opportunity to get to know their neighbour. By joining forces with the Trust for London, civil society organisations and independent funders, we can bring together our collective expertise and networks to achieve real change for Londoners and reach our shared goal of making London the most inclusive and open city in the world.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

What's the evidence?

This secondment model is inspired by similar initiatives in the USA, but we believe that it is the first time it has been delivered here at scale. Our independent learning partner, Renaisi, draws out learning about this model, using this to inform practice across and between sectors, and sharing with other stakeholders, particularly in other city regions with devolved powers.

Take a look at the summary report and the final report on the first two years of the Citizenship and Integration Initiative.

You can also see an overview graphic on the work of young Londoners with insecure status here:

What did we learn?

Citizenship & Integration initiative blog banner

Blog post

Working better together in the Social Integration space: A recipe for change

Bella Kosmala, one of the secondees, shares some lessons from the initiative for civil society and grassroots organisations looking for ways to work more closely with local and regional decision-makers.

Read her blog post