The concept of Drivers for Change, which took place for the first time last week, is simple: 100 entrepreneurial and creative 18-25 year olds spend 11 days travelling on buses together to visit social enterprises situated across eight UK cities including Bradford, Bristol, Edinburgh and Liverpool. The trip was inspired by Jagriti Yatra, a train journey which takes place every year across India, carrying hundreds of young people to dozens of destinations designed to fire up their minds with great ideas to help strengthen their country.
The UK journey hopes to enable participants to build connections with like-minded young people from across the globe, as well as being inspired by the potential of creative and social enterprises to influence social change. Throughout the week they met social entrepreneurs from across the country, as well as hearing talks from social impact influencers including Michael Sheen and Sam Conniff-Allende.
As well as participants from across the UK, the British Council enabled 20 young people from five emerging economies to take part (Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil and South Africa). Pioneers Post joined the Drivers for Change bus passengers on their final stop: the House of Lords, where they were to present ideas they had developed over the past 11 days, as well as speak about what the experience had meant to them.
The celebration began with an introduction by Baroness Glenys Thornton, who said she hoped the young people had “learnt that you shouldn’t have to ask for permission to innovate”, followed by words from the British Council’s director of social and creative economies Dr Mairi Mackay, and David Adair, head of community affairs at PricewaterhouseCoopers, both sponsors of the journey.
Richard Collier-Keywood and Jude Kelly, the Drivers for Change founders, also offered some words for the event’s attendees, who filled up a House of Lords marquee on the Thames. Collier-Keywood said he hoped the week had allowed the participants to understand the importance of collaboration to create change, while Kelly said that she had been driven to develop the programme by the fact that young people are often demonised, and her belief in “the currency of imagination to change to world for the better”.
Pioneers Post spoke to some of the participants to find out what the experience had meant to them…