UpRising Launch Learning Session – 2010-2011!

Tuesday 13 July 2010 saw the launch of the UpRising year 2010-2011. The event was graciously hosted by the Macquarie Group Foundation.

Participants were welcomed to the venue by Lord Gus Macdonald, current Chairman of Macquarie’s Investment Banking Group in Europe.

Jonny Zander, Director of Kaizen Partnership, ran an interactive workshop where participants were able to reflect on some of the fundamental reasons why they were motivated to form a part of the UpRising cohort and embark on a journey to create positive impact in their communities.

The event was a fantastic kick start to UpRising’s third year in action and we look forward to many more to come.


UpRising Graduation Ceremony, celebrating the 2009-2010 cohort of UpRisers

On Monday, 14th June Clifford Chance LLP hosted the 2010 Graduation ceremony for the UpRising Leadership Programme. 

The event was an exciting tribute to the 2009-2010 cohort of UpRisers – 19-25 year-olds who commit one year to engage in leadership training and hands-on community campaigning to change their communities for the better.  UpRising was founded by the Young Foundation in 2008 to identify, recruit and train a new generation of public leaders.

The ceremony opened by Nicola Wherity, a partner at Clifford Chance, who introduced the ceremony’s keynote speaker, renowned critic and playright, Bonnie Greer OBE. Bonnie captured the spirit of the UpRising Leadership Programme, noting that in these ‘interesting times’, we are lucky to see the promise of a flourishing  future generation of young, inspiring and motivated leaders who meet the challenges of the time directly through engagement, mobilisation and action.

Following Bonnie’s speech, UpRising graduate Eshaan Akbar facilitated a panel discussion. Each panellist reflected on their UpRising community campaigns, which aimed to tackle an area of social need in their community. The panel took questions from the audience ranging from queries about mentoring, learning visits, training sessions and community engagement. 

The panel: Komal Chokshi, Sulaiman Ahmed, Liam Baxter, Josephine Ajayi-Majebi and Farah Mohammoud.

Barking and Dagenham Question Time Event Tuesday 4 May, 2010


A Community Campaign project report from Liam Baxter of the 2009/10 UpRising Cohort in partnership with Ekky Haque and the Community Service Volunteers charity

With the General Election looming just two days away and the future of both the local borough and the local council in the hands of the residents of Barking, Tuesday 4 May saw the brightest and best of the borough’s youth descend on the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium (no really!), home to the Dagenham & Redbridge Football Team for an evening of topical debate with the constituency’s prospective parliamentary candidates.

Towards the tail end of 2009, a chance meeting on the District Line at Dagenham Heathway brought together Ekky and I and a discussion arose about our ideas for a community campaign project across Barking & Dagenham which focused on the key theme of ‘political engagement’. As residents of the borough, Ekky and I were concerned that the local community were not sufficiently engaged in the political process to vote in the upcoming General and Council elections. We found that we both had a common theme in our ideas of getting a ‘Question Time’ style debate set up which involved an opportunity for an audience made up of residents within Barking & Dagenham to question their prospective MPs and Councillors before Election Day.

Current figures showed that the recent European Elections across the borough saw only a 30% turnout while the last General Election in 2005 saw only 1 out of every 2 eligible voters make the trip to the polling station on Election Day to make their voice heard and their vote count. This was simply not good enough! This political apathy, coupled with the very public rise of the Far Right party the BNP in the local area, made us aware that we needed to work on a campaign which helped to raise the profile of the importance of voting in the Election, but would also educate voters to make sure that they were aware of what they were actually voting for on May 6.

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UpRising Community Action Day

We had a great time volunteering at Stepping Stones Farm in Stepney Green on Saturday 24 April. Stepping Stones is a community based (and entirely volunteer run) City Farm and Rural Crafts Centre in the heart of Stepney, in London’s East End. A group effort of clearing out the duck pond and painting the surrounding fencing ensured that UpRising did its bit in beautifying this volunteer led farm!

Thank you to everyone who helped out. To see the pictures from the day click here.

Stop whining, start singing

“Tell me why
you took my house away,
tell me why
you’re making my children pay,
tell me why
I never wanna hear you say,
Capitalism is the right way”



The final UpRising Learning Session of 2009-2010 was “epic,” according to one participant. The 20 April event kicked off with UpRising Time, a Question Time-style panel discussion on the successes and outcomes of the UpRising community campaigns and year long programme experience. A panel of UpRising participants summarised their community action projects, which include campaigns to respond to Islamophobia, to connect young people to education and careers, to establish a youth-run radio station, and more. Panelists then responded to questions from the audience, who took on roles such as community authority figure, Young Foundation trustee, television reporter, and leading intellectual.

Nazia, an UpRising participant, described the evening as “An emotional final session but a great way to end.” She added, “I look forward to embarking on a journey knowing I have everything and everyone from UpRising there to support me.”

In the spirit of UpRising, the second half of the session focused on methods to support social innovation and community action. Louise Pulford, coordinator of the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), introduced participants to the complaint choir — an innovative method of community participation and protest that invites people to sing about their grievances in a choir with their peers.

With the aid of a karaoke machine, UpRisers utilised the complaint choir methodology to turn annoying community problems into chart-topping verses. Featured tunes included a protest of banking shenanigans sung to the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it That Way’, a plea for courtesy on the tube to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect,’ a diatribe over transfats and fast food to ‘Silent Night,’ and grumbles over student loan debt to Destiny Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills.’

The fabulous performances wrapped-up UpRising 2009-2010 with a roar, and the session connected UpRisers to the broader field of social innovation, including nearly 1000 entrepreneurs and organizations in the SIX global network who are committed to tackling some of the world’s most difficult social challenges.

At the end of the session, Moneea, an UpRising participant, summed up the spirit of the evening and of the programme: “Don’t just be a spectator, get involved. Once an UpRiser, always an UpRiser.”

Apply to be part of the next UpRising generation!

Apply now for UpRising 2010-2011.

To learn more email us at uprising@youngfoundation.org or call us on 020 8709 9029.

The ethical challenges of leadership

 “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”  Nelson Mandela


“Do you mainly make decisions based on logical reasoning?”  “Is it ever okay to lie?”  “To what extent do you refer to your ethical beliefs when making decisions?”

These are a few of the challenging issues posed to UpRisers by Jonny Zander, director of Kaizen Partnership, at our 30 March learning session on ethical leadership. Kaizen are a passionate group of consultants, trainers and youth workers specialising in community action in the areas of regeneration, housing, education and employment. 

Jonny facilitated an energizing workshop on the important and complex topic of ethical leadership. Participants confronted ethical dilemmas and real-life scenarios such as choosing between peaceful campaigning tactics and violent ones, confronting sexual harassment in the workplace, and whether and how to choose an ethical job. Finally, we explored the underlying influences on our actions to begin to unravel questions of how and why we make decisions, and perhaps to push us to be more conscious decision-makers in the future.

UpRising at Scotland Yard

On Saturday 27 March 2010, UpRising participants and programme organisers took part in day-long event run by the National Community Tension Team at the Metropolitan Police headquarters in the New Scotland Yard building. The NCTT is a team that represents the police service in some of the most controversial areas of policing, including counter-terrorism operations.

Eleven UpRisers and four organisers participated in ACT now!, an exercise run as part of the government’s Prevent programme. Through a sophisticated video simulation and role play, the UpRising team were put in the shoes of officers responding to a potential terror attack in a fictitious town. Working in teams, participants were asked to make difficult decisions that often weighed individuals’ civil liberties against the public’s need to be protected from a potentially life-threatening attack. Teams discussed methods for gathering intelligence, legal protections, public communication, and a host of issues related to crisis response.

Importantly, the event included a dialogue between UpRising participants and Metropolitan Police officers on the challenges and issues related to counter-terrorism and procedures such as stop and search. Officers responded to specific questions about the Manchester 12, (a group of students arrested and subsequently released without charge in April 2009), as well as their efforts to build trust in local communities.

Visit to Parliament with Jon Cruddas

UpRising participants had the fantastic opportunity to meet Jon Cruddas MP in Parliament on 16 February 2010. UpRisers and Jon Cruddas held an informal conversation about issues relating to their borough, broader political and social happenings and Cruddas’s own career background and beliefs. Some of the topics discussed included the rise of the BNP in Barking and Dagenham, the future of the Labour party, the remote culture of parliament, party political rebellion and the ethical challenges of public life.

Visit to Newham Council

UpRising participants had the opportunity to witness local democracy in action by sitting in on a cabinet meeting at Newham Town Hall in East Ham, on 11 February 2010. The meeting was chaired by the borough’s Mayor, Sir Robin Wales. Some of the topics discussed at the meeting were the final proposals for the Council’s Budget Framework and Council Tax Levy for 2010/11, CRB checks for elected members, the Dedicated Schools Budget, the Religious Education Agreed Syllabus 2010 and the planning briefs for rebuilding four schools in Newham.