Our History

UpRising was created to address one of Britain’s most pressing contemporary challenges: the people who represent our interests and make decisions affecting all our lives do not reflect the population of our nation today.

In 2001, Lord Michael Young noted an increasingly homogeneous leadership within Britain. Individuals in marginalised communities are less likely to attain the markers of merit – educational, network-based, or professional – that will enable them to participate in decision-making that has an impact on their communities. While educational attainment is higher for many marginalised groups than in previous generations, the routes to leadership that enabled many working class people to enter politics and public life no longer exist in the same ways; while young people may attain comfortable lives and moderate success, their leadership potential and talents remain largely untapped.

Research from the Young Foundation identified a number of barriers that prevent young people from excluded communities pursing routes into power. These include lack of confidence, skills, connections, education and social capital. Many people feel disengaged from political processes and feel unable to identify with existing leaders.

UpRising was further inspired by the research and insights drawn from the 2001 Northern Disturbances and has continued relevance given the August 2011 riots; in particular the need to work with 19 to 25 year olds from diverse and marginalised communities; to encourage a sense of belonging; and to ensure young people have a stake in their local communities by equipping them with tools to make a positive change.

UpRising was co-founded by Rushanara Ali (Director at Young Foundation), Geoff Mulgan (Chief Executive of NESTA) and Will Norman (Head of Research at Young Foundation).

UpRising officially launched in 2008, paving the way for a new generation of civic leaders who can give voice to communities who currently feel marginalised and disempowered.  Through peer to peer interaction as well as access to wider networks, UpRising aims to increase the social capital of participants, address issues of social mobility amongst young people, and increase life skills so that young people can work, live and play a significant role in an increasingly diverse Britain and globalised world.

Rushanara Ali MP Bethnal Green and Bow is Chair of UpRising and its Patrons are Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Leader of Opposition Ed Miliband.