Young People Demand More Representative Power as they graduate from London's Leadership Programmes...

Young People Demand More Representative Power as they graduate from London's Leadership Programmes...

July 23, 2018


On July 19th, young people from across London called on leaders to change the face of power.



Graduates of UpRising’s prestigious leadership programmes were celebrating successfully completing their course and the 10th anniversary of the charity. The young people, who were welcomed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, used the celebration to call for action over concerns that leaders are still not representative of communities across the UK. Other senior figures attending the event included: Nadhim Zahawi, MP, Minister for Children and Families; Rushanara Ali MP, UpRising Co-Founder and Chair; and a video address from Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society.


UpRising is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and as part of its celebrations has asked their participants what needs to be done to improve social mobility for diverse young people. The majority of respondents called for more meaningful representation in leadership.  


Mayor Sadiq Khan, who delivered the keynote speech, said:


“London's greatest asset is its people and it’s vital we nurture and champion our youngsters to succeed. Mentors play a crucial role in creating positive change in our communities, something I’ve been proud to witness over the past 10 years as UpRising has grown. This year’s graduates are our future leaders and it’s vital that we are able to unlock the talents and potential of all the young people in our city.”


Mayor Sadiq Khan delivering his keynote speech on the power of mentoring


UpRising’s mission is to open up pathways to power to young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. The 2017/18 Leadership and Environmental Leadership Programmes have seen the group come face-to-face with leading change-making organisations in the UK, including Oxfam, The Challenge, Amnesty International, Justice for Grenfell, Greenpeace, The Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency,, Purpose, Lexis Nexis, Glasgow Caledonian University, The Curve Grenfell Assistance Centre, My Life My Say, Webroots Democracy, London Legacy Development Corporation, Climate KIC, the National Trust, and many more across the business and charity sectors. The group also took a trip to Parliament to speak directly to the country’s key decision makers.


Eireann Attridge, 23, from Hackney said:


“Before starting UpRising, I had qualifications and knowledge but I didn’t have a voice. I went to an elite University and felt I didn’t fit in - it’s hard to feel like you are a leader when you are not representative of the system you are in. UpRising has had an incredible impact on my confidence and mindset. I’ve always followed a set of beliefs around equality and fairness and UpRising has given me both the skills and motivation to address these issues from a grassroots level.”


Eireann Attridge (left) with fellow UpRisers at the Graduation event


The graduation event also celebrated the work that the young leaders had done to effect positive change in their communities. As part of the Leadership Programme, the young people conceive and deliver social action campaigns on issues that they feel strongly about.


Rebecca Olokun, 23, is a member of the social action campaign Community Empowerment which aims to promote and encourage individuals through environmental awareness and action in the London borough of Barking & Dagenham. They partnered with The Huggett Women’s Centre, a charity working to end violence against women and girls, to deliver a series of informative workshops, such as a DIY skin care workshop which also looks at the impact of air quality on health. The hope is to inspire environmental action which will subsequently promote empowerment and community integration.


“Without UpRising, we would not have been able to run a community empowerment programme - whilst we had knowledge of the issues affecting our communities,  UpRising gave us the skills and opportunities to be able to act on this knowledge in an effective way. It’s great because our campaign will bring about community empowerment but also works towards Barking and Dagenham’s aim of promoting individual environmental change.”

Rebecca Olokun, 23, UpRising Environmental Leadership Programme


The young leaders will continue to receive support from UpRising as they progress into Alumni Network, which consists of more than 3,500 programme graduates across the UK.

UpRising has been operating since 2008. Many of the young graduates have progressed into employment, education, created social enterprises, charities and joined trustee boards amongst many other successful pathways.

UpRising's Co-Founder and Chair, Rushanara Ali MP, reflects back on the last decade:  


"UpRising was established to identify and support a new generation of talented young adults from diverse backgrounds to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to take up leadership positions in major institutions across politics, business, the public and voluntary sectors. Thousands of young people go through our programmes, and this year we celebrate our 10th Anniversary. I’m incredibly proud of the achievements of UpRising and congratulate our 2018 graduates.”




The next London based programmes will be starting in October 2018.

Applications are now open via