Community campaign workshop with Martyn Williams


It was a pleasure to welcome Martyn Williams at this year’s final community campaign workshop on 8 February 2010. Martyn is an environmental campaigner who has spent 15 years working as a senior Parliamentary campaigner for Friends of the Earth. He has helped to pass laws on recycling, climate change, energy efficiency and wildlife protection. Martyn gave participants advice on how to put pressure on politicians to back the right solutions as well as how to engage activists on the ground to make things happen.


UpRising participants run their own workshop

UpRising participants debating

This learning session was led entirely by UpRising participants who gained experience in designing  and facilitating their own learning experience. The session on 2 March 2010 kicked off with an ‘apprentice’ style marketing exercise facilitated by participant Oyin Akiniyi. UpRisers worked in teams to market the UpRising brand resulting in impromptu acting, a viral youtube kit and a lot of fun. Eshaan Akbar facilitated the second half of the session, running a series of debates on issues ranging from poverty in London, marriage, and John Terry’s recent demotion from the England football captaincy.

UpRising participants pump up the volume even louder


UpRisers with Phil Collins (left) and Richard Reeves (right)

Public speaking was the focus of this learning session, held on 11 February 2010 at St Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green. We were joined by Richard Reeves, Director of Demos and former European Business Speaker of the Year and Phil Collins, former speech writer to Tony Blair and journalist.

Richard and Phil shared their own experience of public speaking, gave participants advice on how to engage with the audience and offered tips on how to combat fear and anxiety when standing in front of an audience. UpRisers had the chance to discover their own public speaking style by performing Obama’s acceptance speech as well as working on their own improvised speeches. This was a great session that provided participants with the opportunity to engage with professionals in the field, practice their skills and receive constructive feedback.

UpRisers witness Jack Straw give evidence at the Iraq Inquiry

Reporters outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London

UpRising participants experienced an important moment in history by attending Jack Straw’s (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 2001 – 2006) hearing at the Iraq Inquiry, on February 8 2010. Sitting mere metres away from Straw and Inquiry members, UpRisers had a direct view of proceedings and witnessed first hand how such inquiry attempts to hold leaders to account. The hearing focused on the details of ‘secret’ telephone calls between Jack Straw and Colin Powell in the months before the war. Keeping the debate going and understanding the workings behind one of the biggest political decisions in recent history is of vital importance in keeping citizens critically engaged with the government’s authority.

UpRising Community Campaign Event


The UpRising leadership programme will be hosting a Community Campaign Event on Saturday 27 February for 18-25 year olds to find out more about UpRising and how to get involved. 

Come and meet current UpRising participants and learn about their community campaigns. The event is a chance to get creative, share your ideas and find solutions to problems you see in your area such as education, crime or health. Finally, if you wish, you’ll be able to sign up to a campaign that you like and act to transform your commnunity for the better.

Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided.

 We look forward to seeing you there!

Register here 11am-1pm, Saturday 27 February 2010.


Location: 18 Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green, E2 9PF. A map is available here

Newham UpRiser Le Ho wins Big Challenge award

Left to right: Ola Akin, Le Ho, Shahin Ullah and Farah Mohammoud


Le Ho, a current participant on the UpRising leadership programme, has been announced as one of the winners of the Big Challenge award. The Big Challenge is a competition for young people aged between 16 and 25 to win part of a £60,000 prize fund for a project that brings communities together. Out of 150 entries only 15 young people went on to be winners after nearly 6000 members of the public voted online.  

Le Ho won the prize to support a campaign she has started to combat the negative perceptions of young people in Newham. Volunteers will travel around schools, community centres and religious groups to run workshops and share their message that young people are our future and not only will they prove their worth in years to come but they are also achieving astounding things today!  

Le found out about the BIG challenge after reading about it on the UpRising participants website. She then applied to the competition and, to her great astonishment, won!  

Continue reading

Guardian learning visit

UpRisers were invited to the Guardian’s offices by Comment is Free editor Natalie Hanman to learn more about the Guardian and how they can get involved in writing articles for it!

The UpRisers received a tour of the newsroom and met with Guardian journalists Natalie Hanman, Afua Hirsch, Paul Lewis and Matthew Taylor to find out more about the newspaper.

During the visit on 27 January 2010, the UpRisers:

  • Got top tips on how to write a catchy, thought provoking comment article.
  • Took part in group discussions about issues they would like to write about. These ranged from the role of religion in society to climate change and international politics.
  • Gave advice to the Guardian on the interests of young people and how to appeal to them. 

Following the visit, UpRiser Eshaan Akbar, had an article published on Comment is Free about the BNP in Barking & Dagenham.

You can read Eshaan’s article here.

Pump up the volume!

UpRiser Ekky Haque is interviewed by Channel 4 News presenter Keme Nzerem about his community campaign

The January 2010 UpRising learning session was all about how to ‘pump up the volume’ through the media. During the session practitioners ran workshops on how to get a message across through the through the press, broadcast and online media.

Channel 4 presenter Keme Nzerem ran a workshop with UpRisers on how to take part in a TV interview. UpRisers practised mock interviews with Keme and then received personalised feedback. During the workshop UpRisers also analysed real life interviews held by politicians and spokespeople in order to learn from their performances.

Demos Press Officer Beatrice Burks held a workshop on how to grasp media attention when writing a press release. Beatrice drew from her experience of translating complex Demos reports into more accessible formats to show how to communicate messages to through the media. Beatrice also gave advice on how to engage local and national media in covering a story.

mySociety Director Tom Steinberg spoke to UpRisers about how to run campaigns online. The importance of emails as a tool for engaging with supporters was highlighted by Tom. Key message: Keep it SHORT, CLEAR, FRIENDLY!

Welcome for Speaker’s Conference backing of youth and community citizenship engagement programmes

The UpRising leadership programme has welcomed the backing by the Speaker’s Conference of youth and community citizenship engagement programmes.

The Speaker’s Conference is a committee of MPs that has been investigating how Parliament can be made more representative. In their final report today (11 January 2010) the Conference highlighted the importance of youth and citizenship programmes that directly focus on developing active citizens.

The Speaker’s Conference pointed out though that many of these organisations were small-scale and called on the Government to ensure ‘greater and more consistent access to youth and community citizenship engagement programmes’.  

Omar Salem, who leads the UpRising leadership programme at the Young Foundation, said:

“We welcome the recognition from the Speaker’s Conference of the importance of youth and community engagement programmes to strengthening Parliament and making it more representative. We hope the government, along with business and the third sector, will now take up the challenge of increasing access to these programmes.”

A number of members of the Speaker’s Conference took part in an event in March 2009 to get advice from participants of the UpRising leadership programme.  The UpRisers, who are young adults aged 19-25 years old, discussed with MPs Anne Begg, Ann Cryer, Fiona Mactaggart and Jo Swinson what could be done to make Parliament more representative and engage more young people in politics.

Omar Salem and Louise Pulford who work on the UpRising leadership programme, also gave evidence in Parliament in March 2009 to the Speaker’s Conference. They called for more efforts to develop young people’s leadership potential and to link them to opportunities to get involved in politics.

Continue reading

Cabinet Minister reports back to UpRisers on Copenhagen Conference

Ed Miliband addresses the Post-Copenhagen meeting held at the QE2 Conference Centre, London 21 December 2009.

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, reported back on the Copenhagen Climate Change conference at an event attended by UpRisers.   

On Monday 21 December 2009 a group of UpRisers attended the event at the QE2 Conference Centre, Westminster. Along with other members of the audience, they also had the opportunity to hear from Prime Minister Gordon Brown via a live feed connection, and took part in a Q&A with the PM.    Continue reading