Citizenship & Integration Initiative

60 second overview

Trust for London, in partnership with Unbound Philanthropy, has established an initiative 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, to work closely with the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority to achieve this goal.

What's the issue?

The capital’s population is rapidly growing and changing. Roughly half of people moving to London are from abroad, and the other half are from the rest 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. There are thousands of young Londoners who have grown up in the capital but cannot access higher education or work because they have irregular migration status. They want to contribute more to and fully 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 has three goals:

  1. Civic Engagement: Encouraging the take up of citizenship and democratic engagement.
  2. Young Londoners: supporting young Londoners to secure their legal rights to residence.
  3. Diversity, social contact and identity: celebrating diversity and building shared identity.

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

The first is to fund secondments from civil society into the GLA’s new Social Integration team.

The second is to support community based projects that further the initiative’s objectives.

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 and the public sector to collaborate, drawing on the strengths and resources of all.

The Citizenship and Integration Initiative seeks to bring together funding from independent foundations to work closely with the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority. The Mayor has appointed a Deputy Mayor with a specific brief for Social Integration, and the GLA has made an equivalent investment into their new Social Integration team. 

What have we learned?

Round One

The first round of secondment grants were allocated to four civil society organisations with relevant expertise: Migrants OrganiseCitizens UK, Coram Children’s Legal Centre and Just for Kids Law, to enable them to second a staff member into the new Social Integration Team at the GLA.  

These secondees have developed new projects that progress the GLA’s social integration agenda. These include testing new approaches to citizenship ceremonies that increase civic engagement; commissioning new resources for political literacy for young people, establishing a Young Londoners steering group and producing new guidance for teachers on supporting children with insecure status. 

In addition to the projects delivered directly by the GLA, the CII will support community based projects that will build on GLA activities, providing capacity in the community and in grass roots organisations to engage, and working across the whole system. citizens

Round Two

Round 2 secondees joined the GLA in April 2018, and are from Citizens UK, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Just for Kids Law and New Europeans.  They are taking forward the ambitious agenda that is shared by the CII partners. 

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, City Bridge Trust and the Pears Foundation have now joined, and the pooled funding is £0.5m for the first two years.  

Round Three

Plans for Round Three of the CII are currently underway, and we will be open for applications from mid-October 2018.  The focus will continue to be on young Londoners and citizenship.

What have we achieved?

The secondees have already achieved a lot in the first 18 months of the Citizenship and Integration Initiative.

These achievements include:

  • Informing the Mayor’s call to remove the profit element of children’s citizenship fees.
  • Holding a workshop for GLA staff across departments to share information about the issues facing young people with insecure citizenship status.
  • A secondee being appointed to create voter registration and political literacy materials which will be used as part of the London Curriculum.
  • A Young Londoners Forum hosted at City Hall and attended by 70 young people with insecure citizenship status.
  • Senior buy in into research on how voter registration work can be taken forward within the new legal constraints facing the GLA.
  • Successfully attracting further grant funding from other philanthropic funders.

You can see a overview graphic of the work here:

CII Impact graphic 2.8 MB

The Mayor of London is working with Trust for London on his Initiative. Here are his comments about the project:

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 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.  We have appointed Renaisi as our independent learning partner to draw out learning, using this to inform practice across and between sectors, and sharing with other stakeholders, particularly in other city regions with devolved powers.

Here is the interim report from the Citizenship and Integration Initiative


All governance and regulatory oversight lies with Trust for London.  

An Advisory Board to the Initiative includes Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, contributing funders, civil society organisations and independent experts. 

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