13 Highlights from 2013

Our inaugural programme, a new website and more...

This was the year that 12 graduates – from Glasgow School of Art designers to Cambridge historians – were selected to become Year Here’s first Fellows.

In 2013, they chose to go frontline and develop relationships with all sorts of Londoners living at the margins of society – from homeless Ethiopian asylum-seekers to isolated older people living with dementia. Over 6 months, our Fellows developed a portfolio of enterprises and projects, established a toolkit of social innovation skills and grew an extraordinary network of mentors, advisors and collaborators.

They are still at the beginning of their social leadership journeys but, as they head off to take on new challenges, we can already see them developing into the compassionate, creative and ambitious leaders that society is crying out for.

Here are the 13 Highlights of 2013.

1. The Cabinet Office invites Year Here to investigate student social entrepreneurship

The year began with a snowy workshop run in partnership with the Cabinet Office and Student Hubs. We were invited to explore how best government could boost students’ and universities’ engagement in the burgeoning field of social entrepreneurship.


2. We kick off our inaugural programme

Our immersive kickoff bootcamp took us from hosting coffee mornings in care homes to performing in plays with homeless people with Cardboard Citizens. This was the week that set the tone for the whole year.

3. Our fellows visit Number 10

Bootcamp week culminated with the official launch of our inaugural programme at 10 Downing Street. Speakers included Seyi Obakin, CEO of youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, Philip Colligan, Exec Director of Nesta‘s Public Services Lab, and Matt Jones, Principal of the Globe Academy.


4. Fellows launch Innovation Projects

As our fellows moved into the third month of their Frontline Service Placements, they were challenged to come up with and manage an Innovation Project to enhance the impact of their placement hosts – like Andy’s culinary challenge for Globe Academy students (pictured) and Nadia’s ‘Booze and Views’ social at Age Concern Kingston’s Bradbury Centre.


5. Young, dumb and disenfranchised?

Kicking social and political apathy to the curb, our Fellows shared their experiences and insights about empathy and connection, curriculum design and financial incentives in schools.

6. Rebecca and Louise join the Minister for Civil Society to launch Generation Change

In 2012, Year Here hatched a plan with City Year and Student Hubs to launch a new movement to boost the impact of young people’s social action efforts. 12 months later and Generation Change is launched by Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering, with Rebecca Ferdinand and Louise Ellaway representing our 2013 Fellows.

7. 24 Hours to create a human library

In July, Hackney Council invited us to fill Hackney Town Hall square with local residents to boost community cohesion. So faculty-member, Sophie Howarth challenged our fellows to create a ‘human library’. In just 24 hours.

8. Rootless Garden wins support from Nesta, Emerge and UnLtd

With a mission to bring nature into care homes, Fellow-led venture Rootless Garden won the GradFest pitch and with it £5,000 from UnLtd and business support from Emerge Venture Lab and Nesta.


9. Nadia and Vanessa wrap-up our inaugural programme

Our 2013 Fellows nominated Nadia and Vanessa to represent them and deliver the valediction speech at GradFest, our festival of social innovation and the culmination of a horizon-broadening, challenging and life-affirming 6 months.

10. Camp Nothing

Indie, Nadia, Zahra and Jack headed off to the wilds of Norfolk for Good For Nothing‘s first residential gig: Camp Nothing.

Bringing together a bunch of smart folk, Good For Nothing helps social ventures like us to develop new ideas – in this case, our idea for a gap year in your own backyard.


11. Louise talks death in a British care home

2013 Fellow Louise was invited to speak at TEDx on her experiences in a care home. In typical fashion, Louise gave a talk that was as funny as it was thought-provoking and erudite (…we had to google the word ‘liminal’ too).

12. We announce our plans for a new MA in social innovation

With some wonderful new partners and an expanding faculty, we announced that Year Here is going to become a Master’s in Social Innovation. Our 2014 programme will be our ‘beta’ version of the MA and doesn’t carry a course fee thanks to the generous support of Nesta and UnLtd.

13. We launch our new look and new website at our Xmas do

To reflect the changes to our programme, we have refreshed our brand and website – along with some beautiful black and white photography of our Fellows and the people they worked with during the programme. Check out the photos of our Christmas launch party at new canalside venue The Proud Archivist.