By Patrick Chike
Year Here is about bringing brilliant graduates into the social sector to help tackle social problems.
The social enterprise was founded by Jack Graham in 2012, but was officially launched at 10 Downing Street a year later. His vision for this organisation is to get young men and women to address their mind to the most pressing social issues of our day with a view to finding alternative solutions.
We had an interview with Michael Simpson, the Partnership Manager, who was very glad to tell us everything about the organisation; from its origins, purposes, how it operates and there future plans.
The primary aim of Year Here is to provide a fresh pathway into social leadership. To achieve this they have to attract very able graduates which they call Fellows. Successful applicants undertake a one year full-time training during which they are required to apply their minds into providing alternative solutions to various problems of our day.
Michael Simpson summed up their mission as being: “To change the landscape of society, through the approaches we are taking to address social issues. There is definitely tension between creating innovators and not just cogs in the system. We hope that wherever our fellows go that they are doing something entrepreneurial, be it within a big organisation or running their own thing.”
In just a little over one year since they started, Year Here has achieved a lot. Their Fellows have already volunteered over 15,000 in frontline services like care homes, secondary schools, employability programmes and in homeless services. During the course the Fellows also run their own creative projects. These have included developing work books for women who have suffered trauma, reinvented work experience for school children and developed a room in a care home where relatives can spend some alone time together.
Year Here Fellows also give Ted talks, write articles for national newspapers and most importantly developed award winning social enterprises like the Rootless Garden.
Though the ultimate aim is to be self-sustaining, Year Here presently derive income from consulting fees, grants and various fundraising events which raised £15,000 last Tuesday for new ventures.
Presently Year Here is being led by a small team and guided by a brilliant network of advisors. These including Sophie Howarth, co-founder of The School of Life and Nick Nielsen, co-founder of Social action charity, Envision, and innovation agency, OSCAS. Of course Jack Graham, on whose vision the organisation was founded continues to be its main driver. His emphasis now, especially after his experiences in International Development in Uganda, is that charity should start from home; in other words that aspiring young graduates should start by addressing social issues that are local to them.
The plan is to substantially increase its intake of Fellows by 2015 and eventually to offer a post graduate degree alongside the current programme. This will help to ensure that Year Here will be able to continue to provide the social leadership pathway required to achieve real change within the third sector.
To find out more about Year Here visit their website