Meet the 2016 New Radicals

Today we’re delighted to reveal our third list of radical social innovators working across the UK, and in many cases further afield.

Since launching New Radicals in 2012, the Observer and Nesta have worked to shine a light on individuals and organisations doing radical, useful things, often far below the radar of the media. Our intention is to promote projects which, if scaled, could transform the lives of millions of people, and offer us a glimpse of a different kind of society.

To do this we invited the UK’s radicals, and the people they’ve helped, to come forward and share their achievements with us - which they did in their hundreds. Our fantastic judging panel narrowed the list down to only 50, working across fields from engineering to hospitality, healthcare to music.

All 50 of our 2016 New Radicals embody a great British shared tradition of compassion and verve, bloody-mindedness and practicality and I would encourage you to spend some time reading through their stories here and in the Observer New Review.

The list has a good representation from all of the nations of a United Kingdom that lately has not felt so united - from The Book Reserve which offers training for ex-offenders in Northern Ireland to End Youth Homelessness Cymru in Wales and community business support group WEvolution in Scotland.

"All 50 of our 2016 New Radicals embody a great British shared tradition of compassion and verve, bloody-mindedness and practicality."

There were clear trends which reflect today’s pressure points. The sheer scale of the migration and refugee crisis showed up in many projects trying to provide a practical and human response. Techfugees, for example, marshals the tech community to help those fleeing devastation in their home countries while Help Refugees, which provides direct assistance to refugees, has grown from a social media hashtag to a full-blown NGO in less than a year.

Innovations in political organisation were also prominent, perhaps reflecting an unsettled, fluid and often angry period in our political history. The activist Laura Coryton led the fight against the regressive Tampon Tax, while Michael Sani's Bite the Ballot played a big role in persuading millions of young people to register to vote.

The people on this list are not the richest or the most famous, but they are likely to leave a positive mark on the world around them, and they can inspire us to do more in our own lives to be the change we want to see in the world.

In the middle of one of the strangest periods in recent political history this fantastic group of change-makers can hopefully go some way to lifting our spirits.

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New Radicals


Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan was Chief Executive of Nesta from 2011-2019.

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