Over the years RF has worked on relationships in many contexts. Our current main areas of activity are around the following projects.
Over the past few years we have supported the High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge launch the Marriage Foundation (which received independent charity registration in January 2013). Our active involvement in the launch and the subsequent development of initial projects have been instrumental in enabling the Marriage Foundation to achieve a strong media presence and an influential voice for marriage. To find out more visit the Marriage Foundation’s website and Facebook Page.
Relationships Foundation has been supporting the development and launch of a new family stability initiative that seeks to change attitudes and behaviour to enable more children to grow up safe, secure and nurtured by both parents.
The first campaign of this initiative is called Status and it is aimed at 18-25 year olds, inviting them into conversation about relationships. At statusonline.org and the Status Facebook page, young people are invited to give their thoughts and opinions, creating an online community talking about relationships. The page provides materials that will amuse, inspire and challenge the user to help make decisions about being in a happy, healthy relationship.
Status is a joint initiative of the Family Stability Network, a community of organisations for which Relationships Foundation currently has responsibility, working together to develop new ways of helping people in their relationships. As part of this initiative, other campaigns for different ages and life stages are planned for the future.
Relationships Foundation is a long-standing advocate of the Family Test. Following our report of January 2009 The Triple Test, we set out the specific case for family proofing policy in 2010. Along with others Relationships Foundation is now conducting a ‘Test of the Test’ to mark the first anniversary of the Prime Minister’s announcement of the Family Test. We welcomed the announcement of the Family Test by the Prime Minister in August 2014, the stated objective of which is “to introduce an explicit family perspective to the policy making process, and ensure that potential impacts on family relationships and functioning are made explicit and recognised in the process of developing new policy.”
The argument made in the guidance notes for the Family Test summarises neatly and fully the need for such assessment: “Whether intended or not, a wide range of government activity has a direct or indirect impact on families and families in turn shape how individuals engage with policy initiatives and use public services. While supporting families is an explicit goal in some areas of public policy, and is implicit in other many other areas, across Government as a whole we do not always think systematically about how policy can support strong and stable family relationships or how we might inadvertently impact on families.”
Relationships Foundation is working with Relational Research (formerly Relationships Global) to develop a Relational Schools Project. The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has argued that ‘the focus on delivering measurable outcomes has neglected the importance of human relationships’ and that it ‘risks reducing the complexity and texture of human experience to a simple number, leading to policies and services that do not address the core of a problem’. This project is seeking to work in schools from a number of countries, including the UK, to:
- Define the template for a relational secondary school in terms of organisation, curriculum and practice.
- Explore a new methodology for evaluating the quality of relationships amongst stakeholders in secondary schools and to gain initial lessons for building those key relationships.
- Explore the means by which relational practice can be fostered in schools.
- Determine ways in which schools and students can be assessed for their relational understanding and competence.
This project follows on from our earlier work on criminal justice and healthcare in seeking to build better understanding of how relationships define the goals of services, and the ways in which relationships are key to achieving these goals. Policy that neglects the role and importance of relationships will not secure the best outcomes for users of those services
Keep Sunday Special was started in 1985 to campaign against a proposed deregulation of Sunday trading in England and Wales.Its founder, Dr Michael Schluter, set up and ran the campaign as a conventional secular civil society organisation which had supporters from all political parties, from private businesses and the Trade Unions, and members of all faiths and of none. KSS enjoyed great success in its initial campaign. The Shops Bill of 1986 was defeated in the Westminster Parliament – only the second time since 1924 that a government bill was defeated at second reading. The legislative proposal was, however, brought back to Parliament by John Major’s government in 1994 and became law as the Sunday Trading Act in 1994, Find out more at Keep Sunday Special’s website. Keep up with recent developments at Keep Sunday Special’s Facebook Page.