Acumen announces first 22 Fellows driving social change across the UK

Acumen announces first 22 Fellows driving social change across the UK

Acumen Academy has selected 22 bold and generous leaders to be part of its inaugural UK-wide Fellowship. Fellows have been selected based on their commitment to bridging societal divides and tackling injustice across the UK. Fellows come from all walks of life and are united by the shared purpose of building a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future for all.

The Acumen Fellowship equips Fellows with the knowledge, skills and community to accelerate and sustain their impact tackling poverty and injustice. The Fellowship begins with a year-long immersive leadership programme, where Fellows take part in a series of residentials and virtual seminars connected by group practice. The programme is designed to increase their capacity to lead through complexity, walk across lines of difference, and mobilise action in order to solve long-standing problems of injustice. The Fellowship is grounded in 20 years of Acumen’s work tackling poverty across the world. For the first time in 2020, a UK cohort will join Acumen’s growing global community of social innovators and builders accompanying each other to create a world based on dignity.

Fellows were selected from across sectors, disciplines and regions after completing a rigorous application process. They include Marcellus Baz, founder of Switch Up in Nottingham. Switch Up uses empowering activities such as boxing alongside mentoring and counselling to engage with young people at risk and support them to change their lives. In London, Duro Oye is the CEO of 2020 Change, an award-winning social enterprise helping young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds develop their confidence and reach their potential through the flagship ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme.

Saba Ahmed, a Liverpool-based Fellow, is a community activist who supports local change makers to carry out social activism within their communities. Delivering programmes in Merseyside, Saba inspires social change through initiatives such as L8 A Better Place. Fellow Jenny Sealey is CEO and Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre in London, the UK’s flagship disabled-led theatre company. Jenny uses world-class theatre as a radical tool for change by placing deaf and disabled actors centre stage, challenging preconceptions and pushing for a level playing field.

The Programme Lead of Acumen Academy UK, Benjamin Lane, said: “We are so excited to announce the first cohort of Acumen Fellows in the UK. We believe that the world today needs a new kind of leader – one who is willing to step up, challenge the status quo and bridge our divides. The Acumen Fellowship is designed to find, connect and build this type of leader. These Fellows are redefining how we measure success across the UK; they are building bold solutions, connecting our communities, empowering our youth, standing with our vulnerable, protecting our environment, and serving us all. Fundamentally, Fellows understand that the challenges they are committed to solving are far too large and complex to be dealt with by any one individual, therefore are invested in solving these challenges collectively.”

“We have been blown away by the generosity of our friends and peers who have helped us reach, engage and select individuals from across the nation. The powerful interest in our first UK Programme confirms our belief that there is a strong community of innovative, passionate, and socially-minded people driving change in the UK.”

As part of Acumen’s commitment to invest in the global ecosystem of social leaders, they have taken many elements of the Fellowship programme and made them available online and for free, through Acumen Academy – the online school for social change. More information on Acumen’s online courses can be found at

To find out more about Acumen Academy in the UK and the Fellows Programme, visit and read more about the UK 2020 Fellows at Sign up to keep updated on the Fellows and Acumen’s leadership work at

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