The Pears Foundation

Pears Foundation’s generous practical support has made a huge difference to us at The Linking Network. Their commitment to providing long-term unrestricted core funding gives us the confidence and space to develop our work. This enables us to develop and test approaches to training teachers, modelling good practice, developing Schools Linking and Intergenerational  Linking  so that young people can explore complex questions of identity, diversity and community and how to live together well. We are strengthened by the Pears Foundation’s practical, active engagement in our work, visiting our work  and acting as critical friends.      Meg Henry and Linda Cowie, Co-Directors        

The Pears Foundation promotes understanding of key issues through research and education programmes. They drive engagement in social progress across the UK and globally, particularly in young people, and support organisations focused on wellbeing for everyone, especially those with a tough challenge to face. Their aim is to empower a global community of organisations and individuals, provide leadership and resources to break down the barriers to progress.


Bradford For Everyone

Bradford For Everyone/ Bradford District Shared Values is a people-led campaign that aspires to get all communities and organisations in the district to live and celebrate the four human values that bring us together. Our communities have so much in common and are full of amazing people, places and potential. Whether you were born, bred or are newly arrived, we are more enriched and stronger when we’re connected.  The Bradford For Everyone programme is led by the Stronger Communities team at Bradford Council and is overseen by an independent partnership. The programme delivers innovative, and well-evidenced, initiatives which bring people and communities together in meaningful and sustainable ways.  Bradford for Everyone is a funder for our Bradford Schools Linking work.

The Dulverton Trust

The Dulverton Trust is an independent grant-making charity. We support UK charities tackling a range of social issues, protecting the natural world, and preserving heritage crafts.

We support a wide range of charities that benefit disadvantaged people and communities, with particular interest in:

  • strengthening and supporting family relationships
  • work with offenders, especially young offenders, with a focus on desistance
  • helping young homeless people to move forward
  • maintaining active living and independence for older people (note: this does not include help with medical and mental health)
  • the welfare of those who care for others
  • developing tolerance and understanding between faiths and communities and the promotion of social cohesion.

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities

National School Linking Programme
‘The government is investing in The Linking Network to develop strong and positive links between schools and communities. The Linking Network works in partnership with local authorities and charities and the Schools Linking programme specifically brings together children from demographically diverse primary and secondary schools to explore identity, diversity, equality and community. The programme provides sustained opportunities for children and young people from different communities to meet, build new relationships, work together and contribute to the wider community. Since January 2017, over 400 schools in 20 local authorities have been linked, with over 17,000 pupils in over 600 classes developing sustained relationships. We will continue to fund The Schools Linking programme to develop and expand twinning of schools of different backgrounds.’  Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper
 ‘We were delighted when DCLG approached us in August 2016 to discuss ways in which the network of Schools Linking programmes could be sustained and expanded through a partnership between DCLG, DfE and the Pears Foundation who were already funding the work. The network has now grown to 26 local programmes led by colleagues with wide ranging expertise enabling us to support and inspire one another in the work to enable children and young people to meet others they would otherwise not meet and in so doing contribute to society.’  Linda Cowie and Meg Henry, Directors of TLN

Department for Education

National Schools Linking Programme

The Network of linking facilitators, headteachers and teachers in linking schools are grateful for the support and backing of the DfE as they work to create meaningful sustainable links between pupils in primary and secondary schools of all kinds including special schools.  Schools currently undertaking sustained linking  prorgammes include local authority, academy, free and independent schools.

‘Schools Linking work chimes with the reasons many of us came into teaching and also is in step with DfE and Ofsted expectations that schools support the  spritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils so that they thrive. The academic and personal development of every pupil is at the heart of our ambition for all our linking programmes. As a network of educators we are grateful for the backing of the DfE.’
 ‘Many thanks to The Linking Network for their dedication, commitment and continuing hard work and to the Pears Foundation, the DfE and DCLG for recognising the need for this project in the present climate and enabling our service and others across the country to make a real difference to the lives of so many children and young people.’ 
Gillie Heath, Manager, Inclusion Support Service, Kent Local Authority, 2018


Our key priority has been to support our communities and the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic. We have provided a grant towards the Linking Network’s core costs, including time to pilot new programmes with secondary schools, between 2021 – 2023.

Funding for Intergenerational Linking

The Linking Network (TLN) is delighted to announce that it is partnering with The Dunhill Medical Trust and My Home Life in an exciting £1M programme to promote young people’s engagement with care homes for older people, through MHL and TLN’s Intergenerational Linking Project. The project is being funded through the #iwill Fund, a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund  and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.  This project also has additional funding from Public Health England.

This project of work aims to co-create, pilot and deliver a range of inter-generational, sustainable community engagement initiatives in the social care sector with the purpose of:

  • developing a long-term volunteering habit amongst young people, in particular those aged 5-14 years from less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, through the provision of high-quality opportunities and support
  • connecting the residents of care homes for older people with their local communities in a way which is flexible, practically achievable and self-sustaining