About Us

Generation Change is a movement to promote high quality youth social action programmes.

We are founded and led by an independent partnership of charities that together help over 600,000 young people each year to take part in social action. Our shared mission is to transform the status of social action in society. We do this by empowering youth programmes to evidence and improve their impact on young volunteers and the causes they address. Read about our approach to impact.

Our Mission

The Changemaker Generation

This is the first generation expected to be poorer than their parents. Young people today are growing up in a rapidly changing economy, and a society experiencing rising levels of inequality and social division.

Over 850,000 young people in the UK are currently not in education, employment or training. With the nature of work changing more rapidly than our education system, we risk creating a lost generation, for whom the transition to adulthood is defined by poor preparation for the world of work and increased levels of anxiety and isolation.

Young people have much more to offer society than they are given credit for. Research shows that this generation are more concerned about social problems and willing to volunteer than their parents were.

Social action helps to connect young people’s enthusiasm and interests to the problems that their communities face. This can give every young person a rewarding job to do - acting as a powerful form of work and life experience.

The evidence shows that young people who take part in structured social action programmes are more successful in interviews and in tests of skills that employers seek most, like teamwork, problem solving and empathy. The best social action programmes also make a significant impact in an area of social need, such as reducing the attainment gap in schools, or tackling severe mental health problems, or bringing communities together to improve social cohesion.

Our Vision

We believe the UK should be tapping into this generation’s desire to do good by giving every young person a high quality opportunity to address social need in the places where they live.

By doing so, we could mobilise an untapped resource for tackling the problems our communities face in the here and now. And at the same time we can support young people to thrive and develop the skills they will need as adults.

In the UK, hundreds of charities and social enterprises seek to recruit young people into social action and support them to make an impact. These programmes can start as young as the age of 5 and span all the way up until 25 and into adulthood. They happen inside and outside of school or college.

Our vision is for social action to be woven into every stage of growing up in the UK as a high status activity recognised and valued by colleges, universities, and employers. None of us can make this vision happen on our own - that's why we have to work together to create an entire generation of changemakers, activists and social leaders.

Our Approach

Generation Change was created out of a recognition that, when delivered well, youth social action can transform the lives of those who take part. But it has been difficult to define what good looks like.

Working with research and delivery partners, we have created a rigorous impact framework to help us define and identify best practice in youth social action. This will help us to encourage best practice and recognise the programmes that are really making the greatest impact for young people and communities.

Certified Impact Partners of Generation Change have committed to applying this framework to their programmes. Here are some of the key principles:

Double benefit

Our Impact Partners seek to create a "double benefit" -
they offer activities that create positive outcomes for both the young person taking part, and the community, cause or issue that they give their time to. Generation Change is solely focused on social action activities that make a significant difference in both cases.

Evidence led

Impact Partners are committed to capturing evidence about their outcomes in order to know whether or not their activities are making a difference. Generation Change believes that we have to live up to the promise we make to young people when they choose to take part in social action - that they can really make a difference - by being serious about understanding our impact.

Improving, rather than proving

Our Impact partners have found that being evidence-led can sometimes create a culture of trying to "prove" success, without really reflecting on what the evidence tells us. We believe that using evidence well requires a process of continual testing, learning and improving over time.

Iterative

Impact Partners know that “quality” means always looking to improve, not resting on your laurels. We believe that the best social action programmes will always strive to enhance what they do by learning from what worked and what didn’t.

Impact at scale

Our Impact Partners know that what makes a difference on a small scale might not have the same effect when done by large numbers of people - it might be hard to replicate, or the activities might rely heavily on the skills and passion of the people most affected. We believe that social action programmes needs to consider factors of scale, and seek to reach large numbers of people over time.

Our Team

David Reed

Director,

Generation Change

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Sonia Sodha

Strategic Advisor,

Generation Change

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Makena Lohr

Network Officer,

Generation Change

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Keira Lowther

Senior Researcher,

Dartington Social Research Unit

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Vicky Baker

System Design Specialist,

Dartington Social Research Unit

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Tim Hobbs

Director of the Service Design Lab,

Dartington Social Research Unit

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Rob Wilson

Co-Chair of Generation Change,

Chief Executive of Toast

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Sophie Livingstone

Co-Chair of Generation Change,

Chief Executive of City Year UK

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Tessy Ojo

Trustee of Generation Change,

CEO at the Diana Award

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Jennie Butterworth

Trustee of Generation Change,

CEO of Envision

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Michael Lynas

Trustee of Generation Change,

CEO of The NCS Trust

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David Reed

Director,

Generation Change

David Reed is our Director, having helped to incubate the organisation since 2013. As Director, David's role is to oversee the implementation of our partnership strategy, and to support the overall development of Generation Change, both as a collaborative movement of partners, and as an independent charity. Prior to Generation Change, David worked in Sure Start, developing local children's services, and graduated from the University of Warwick with first class honours in English. Whilst at Warwick he co-founded Warwick Hub, a branch of the national charity Student Hubs, and volunteered as Projects Manager, supporting student social action projects and campaigns. He was also the Campaigns Coordinator for his Students’ Union, and organised the first student-led conference on higher education. He has written for the Times, the Times Higher Education supplement, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post. ,

Sonia Sodha

Strategic Advisor,

Generation Change

Sonia Sodha is Strategic Adviser to Generation Change, and has helped guide our overall strategy, and the development of key initiatives for achieving systems change in the sector. Sonia is the Chief Leader Writer for the Observer, a policy consultant and freelance journalist. She has produced Radio 4 Analysis programmes, and regularly appears as a commentator on Sky News. She is a former head of public services and consumer rights policy at Which?, the Consumers’ Association, where she led their work on public services. Prior to this, she was a Senior Policy Adviser to Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, the Leader of the Opposition. She has also worked as Head of Policy and Strategy at the Dartington Social Research Unit and led programmes of work on public services, education, children and families at the think tanks Demos and the Institute for Public Policy Research. Sonia is a Trustee of the youth charity City Year and Vice Chair of Governors at Griffin Primary School in Wandsworth.,

Makena Lohr

Network Officer,

Generation Change

Makena Lohr is our Network Officer. In this role she works closely alongside the Director in delivering a range of services and projects across our network and is responsible for our communications. Prior to Generation Change, Makena completed a B.A. in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford. During this time she led the student volunteering service at Oxford run by Student Hubs. She was also involved in setting up the micro-funding initiative Project Soup and a food co-op. Makena sits on the Student Hubs Alumni board for whom she develops mentoring and training programmes, and is a Trustee for befriending charity Host Nation. ,

Keira Lowther

Senior Researcher,

Dartington Social Research Unit

Vicky Baker

System Design Specialist,

Dartington Social Research Unit

Tim Hobbs

Director of the Service Design Lab,

Dartington Social Research Unit

Rob Wilson

Co-Chair of Generation Change,

Chief Executive of Toast

Sophie Livingstone

Co-Chair of Generation Change,

Chief Executive of City Year UK

Tessy Ojo

Trustee of Generation Change,

CEO at the Diana Award

Jennie Butterworth

Trustee of Generation Change,

CEO of Envision

Michael Lynas

Trustee of Generation Change,

CEO of The NCS Trust

Our Partners

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Where We Are

Generation Change
58-62 White Lion Street
,
London,N1 9PP

Contact us

Get in touch to ask us a question, find out more, or apply to become an accredited Generation Change Impact Partner.

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