History and PurposeHistory and Purpose

History and Purpose


UpRising was born in East London in 2008. We started life as a small pilot project under the wing of The Young Foundation and initially serving the young people of Tower Hamlets. We became an independent charity in 2012.


UpRising was started to help identify and support a new generation of talented adults from diverse backgrounds to take up leadership positions across politics, business, the public and voluntary sectors.


Our research found (and sadly continues to find), that the people who represent our interests and lead our institutions do not always reflect the population of the UK today. The majority of those with power come from a narrow range of backgrounds, for example:


  • Worryingly, just under  3% of Britain’s most powerful and influential people are from black and minority ethnic groups (The Guardian

  • In business, just 8% of FTSE 100 directors are non-white (The Parker Review) and alarmingly, amongst the CEO’s of these big companies, there are more David’s, then there are women and earn 77% more than their female counterparts  (CIPD & High Pay Centre)

  • The stats are no better in the voluntary sector where only 6% of senior management and 8% of trustees in Britain’s 50 largest charities are BAME (Inclusive Boards)

  • When it come to education, in some of the key professions, the percentage of those who were privately educated is, for example, 74% of judges, 61% of those working in medicine and 51% of journalists. Across history, just 33% of all Oscar winners  and 37% of Nobel Prize winners went to a State school (The Sutton Trust


However, young people from under-represented backgrounds are less likely to ‘get ahead’ and progress into leadership roles.


High-levels of poverty are associated with poor social outcomes, for example, disadvantaged children are more likely to face educational and behavioural problems when they are older (Sutton Trust). Whilst, white working-class boys from poor neighbourhoods face a ‘double-disadvantage’ of low family income and place poverty; significantly reducing their likelihood of academic study after GCSE (Sutton Trust).


Our ‘real’ unemployment rates have not yet recovered their pre-recession levels, and if people are employed, 23% of those jobs pay less than the living wage (ONS).


This creates a difficult cycle of un-representative leadership.


This is where UpRising steps in. We are creating a movement of new leaders who reflect the energy, talent and diversity of our country. We think that is pretty powerful and very exciting for our future.