About the Relationships Project

We believe that everything works better when relationships are valued; people are happier and healthier, organisations and services are more efficient and effective, communities are stronger and more resilient. That’s why we are working with others to make it easier for every organisation, service and individual to put relationships at the heart of what they do. To that end, we are:

Building the body of knowledge

Learning about the importance of relationships and making the case for putting relationships at the heart of how we live and work 

Developing practical tools

Creating practical resources and training to support people everywhere to create the conditions for relationships to flourish 

Helping to build the field

Working with others to explore how we can build a field of practice to realise more than the sum of our parts 

A World of Good Relationships

How are we to respond to the long tail challenges of Covid and to the injustices that it exposed? How to heal divided communities, to respect difference, trade fairly, care for the displaced, or share the natural world? How are we to live together? More than ever, the big questions in 2021 are all about relationships. Their substance and character will determine the direction and quality of our lives.

This report summarises our work over the last two and a half years, listening, learning and collaborating. We share our vision for a world built for and around relationships, and our plans for the next chapter.

The case for investing in better relationships

Relationships are essential to all of us, in all walks of life. From schools to GP practices and big businesses to grassroots organisations, everything works better when relationships are nurtured. Find out more about the importance of good relationships through our bank of case studies or our collaborative blog.

Highlights from the blog

How we live together

How we live together

In brief “Working for social progress isn’t about waiting for all the stars to align; it’s about making change for ourselves, by the light that we have.” In this essay, David Robinson considers the state of relationships in 2020 and how to do better in the new...

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Developing the Framework: An update

Developing the Framework: An update

In brief In July, we published 'Developing the Framework'; an extended blog written by Tony Clements which lays out 10 ways in which local authorities can help community engagement to thrive. In this follow up blog, Tony reflects on the subsequent discussion we hosted...

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Relationship Makers Blog

Relationship Makers Blog

In this blog post, Immy reflects on our first Relationship Makers programme delivered in partnership with Power to Change. Bringing together a cohort of community businesses over the course of 8 weeks, we connected, reflected and provided one an other with some balm for the chaos that was 2020.

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The team

We’re a small core team based at Shift, a charity that uses a user-centred, design-led approach to tackle tricky social problems.

David Robinson

David is a community worker based in east London. He has been involved in lots of social innovations and has helped to set up several organisations including Shift, Children’s Discovery Centre and Community Links

Read David’s posts on the blog.


Immy Robinson

Immy (no relation to David!) is an Innovation Lead at Shift and co-lead of the Relationships Project. Outside of work she’s a keen amateur jockey and can often be found hurtling around muddy fields on horseback.

Read Immy’s posts on the blog.


Sam Firman

Sam is a researcher based in Canada. He completed Year Here and worked for a social enterprises including Tech for Good and tbd*. He’s also working on a guidebook on Greece and slowly converting a camper van. 



Iona Lawrence

Iona works across civil society, philanthropy and the private sector building collaborations and partnerships with a focus on unlocking the power of good relationships and stronger, better connected communities. In 2016 Iona set up the Jo Cox Foundation and together with Jo’s family and friends campaigned to appoint the world’s first Minister for Loneliness and the development of the Great Get Together.

Kate Weiler

Kate is a freelance facilitator, trainer and coach. Her background is in education and mental health and her freelance work centres around creating meaningful spaces for learning and human connection. She’s also working with Project Wayfinder as a curriculum designer, creating content for high school students to explore purpose and belonging, and training as a systemic family therapist.

Katie Slee

Katie is a self-taught designer, whose work bridges visual, experience and web design. She cut her teeth as co-founder and service designer of Settle, a social enterprise that supports homeless young people moving into their first flat. Katie now works freelance, trying to find the right balance between doing and being.

Romek Goj

Romek is collaborating with Relationships Project on the Relationships Heatmap tool. After studying Physics and Neuroinformatics he now focuses on building web applications for social good. He’s passionate about mental health, mindfulness, and learning. In his spare time, he’s working on a prototype of a note-taking app for learning and self-care.

Tony Clements

Tony has held senior positions at Newham and Ealing Councils, and is currently Strategic Director for Economy at Hammersmith and Fulham Council. He has previously worked as an expert advisor to Local Government and Housing Ministers. Outside work, Tony enjoys open water swimming and spending time with his two boys. 

Zahra Davidson

Zahra has a decade of experience in designing and delivering learning experiences that promote social innovation and sustainable development. She began her career as a service designer and quickly discovered an interest in the intersection between design and learning. In 2017, she became the founder, Chief Exec and Design Director of Enrol Yourself.

Neil Denton

Neil believes there is an energy within disagreement and conflict that can be a powerful force for positive change. He helps communities in conflict to find ways to solve real life problems and strengthen human relationships. He is a leader in community mediation and conflict transformation,  an Independent Community Mediator, and a Professor in Practice with the After Disasters Network at Durham University. 

Catriona Maclay

Catriona Maclay was the Founding Director of The Hackney Pirates (now Literacy Pirates), supporting young people to develop literacy, confidence and perseverance. She was previously a Citizenship teacher in a north London high school, supporting young people to gain the skills, knowledge and experience to be active citizens. She also worked at Ashoka, selecting and supporting social entrepreneurs around the world. She was an inaugural trustee of the Economist Educational Foundation, and is now Director of Sea Change Strategy supporting social change organisations on strategy, organisational development, and management.


We’re also grateful to our network of collaborators who have fed in to our thinking at various points in time. 

Ali Norrish
Alice Sachrajda
Andrew McCraken
Angela Fell
Anna Randle
Avril McIntyre
Barbara Douglas
Caroline Slocock
Catherine Mitchell
Chris Mann
Cindy Chadwick
Daria Cybulska
Emily Georghiou
Emily Stewart
Giles Gibbons
Giles Piercy
Harry Hobson
Ingrid Abreu-Scherer
Jane Williams
Jennifer Wallace
Jenny Cox
Jessie Robinson
Julian Dobson
Kat O’Connell
Kate Weiler
Katherine Radlett
Katie Slee
Laura Naude and Refugee Action
Len Rosen
Louisa Mitchell
Marnie Freeman
Matt Hyde
Monica Needs
Nancy Winfield
Noreen Blanluet
Polly Mann
Priya Banati
Radhika Bynon
Richard McKeever
Romek Goj
Sam Thomas
Wayne Trevor

Get involved

Looking for support to make your place more relationship-centred? Or interested in collaborating with us in some way? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at hello@relationshipsproject.com

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We’re grateful to our funders and partners for their continued support. If you’re interested in supporting the Relationships Project, we’d love to hear from you.