We are exploring what enables and impedes social change. We have spent time meeting with people around the country who are involved in change-making and through our interactions have identified a range of ‘burning issues’. We will take time to explore these issues in depth, as well as looking to different instances of change to generate learning and insights. In doing this we are bringing together a new diverse and vibrant community of change-makers committed to working together around a common goal.


Civil society is at a real crossroads. We are facing mounting social and environmental challenges from growing inequality to climate change, allied to an upsurge in people wanting to campaign and get involved. Get it right and we can change the world for the better.


The project has already hosted a series of workshops across England to consider they key drivers and barriers to social change, looking across a wide variety of case studies from the smoking ban and living wage, to equal marriage and Brexit. These conversations have already identified a number of “burning issues” which will now be examined in more depth through a series of events.

The ‘burning issues’ we will be digging deeper into are:

Models of social change – knowing what works
Making better use of the law
Unlocking the power of people
Collaborations – coalitions, networks and alliances
Moral purpose, ethics and integrity
Organisations structures, governance and leadership
Evaluating and measuring social change
The future use of digital tools

We are collating more detailed case studies to examine how change really happens, and inviting people to share their own personal stories of pursuing change. Ultimately the project hopes to illustrate both the critical role civil society plays in supporting important social reforms, and also the need for our sector to examine more deeply how change has happened in the past in order to strengthen future efforts.

The project is open to anyone with an interest or passion in social change and civil society. The Sheila McKechnie Foundation is primarily the thought convenor and catalyst for encouraging anyone with an interest and commitment to civil society and social change to engage with the project. The Sheila McKechnie Foundation has its own thoughts on the issue and will be actively contributing to the project as well as encouraging others to get involved.

Go back to The Social Change Project homepage

KarenThe Social Change Project