In our second round of 2022, the RSA Catalyst Awards are proud to announce a further eight inspiring social innovation projects which have received funding.
This round, we received 102 applications and awarded eight grants. Four of these were £2,000 seed grants, which are awarded to early-stage projects in need of a financial boost to test their innovations, and the other four were £10,000 scaling grants, awarded to evolving projects that already have proven impact and are looking to scale.
In total, we awarded £98k in 2022 and will be carrying the unallocated £2k over into next year’s Catalyst Awards.
Read on to hear more about the work of these projects, and how they plan to test and expand their innovations.
Catalyst Awards seed grant winners
EmpowerEd is an immersive app from the TIDE Foundation that aims to develop effective diversity, equity and inclusion training for pre-service and in-service teachers. By combining technology with research into the lived experiences of children and effective practices used by other teachers, the project will take a third space (balancing expert and practitioner expertise), user-centred approach to supporting teaching-learning practices. This will involve creating an immersive and interactive decision-making process to help teachers empathetically understand children’s lived experiences, engage with common classroom scenarios in a virtual lab, and explore other effective practices, alongside engaging in reflective and critical dialogues to support reflection.
"We are excited to receive the RSA Catalyst grant. While we are developing a completely novel and innovative solution to large-scale educational challenges, the feedback and selection for the grant reaffirms the idea. We believe the grant and RSA networks will provide crucial support in building the intervention and piloting it. We are especially grateful for the opportunity to engage with the expertise within the larger RSA network." - Jwalin Patel, Project Lead
Designed for secondary school pupils, Influences is an innovative board game which tackles the subject of radicalisation and extremism. Through the safe environment of a game, pupils will go on a journey to make educated decisions in the face of external pressures. Influences aims to help pupils understand the push and pull factors associated with extremism, highlighting how informed decisions can build resilience, and how local support structures can reduce the risk of harm to pupils.
"I am extremely excited to receive the RSA Catalyst grant to produce the Influences board game. Working with experts in gaming and education professionals, the game has been designed for secondary school pupils and will take pupils on a journey to build resilience against radicalisation of all forms, including online risks and violent conspiracy theories." - Charlie Pericleous MBE FRSA, Project Lead
Primary Pioneers is a social innovation programme from Social Innovation for All (SI4A) aimed at upper primary pupils, focusing on Year 6 pupils preparing to transition to secondary school. The programme is designed to help pupils build transferable skills, agency, and citizenship, using design thinking to engage young people in identifying and developing solutions to issues they identify and care about within their local communities. Primary Pioneers builds these skills while creating positive social impact and inspiring the next generation of social innovators.
"The support from the RSA Catalyst grant will, quite literally, catalyse a new pilot project, which aims to build skills, agency and community connection for pupils in primary school. The RSA’s expertise in Design for Life and its amazing network of changemakers make them the perfect partner for the new Primary Pioneers programme." - Kat Crisp, Project Lead
The Public Haybox
The Public Haybox is a series of workshops creating fuelless cooking boxes as a creative response to address the disempowering and isolating experience of fuel and food poverty. Through these community-led workshops, which involve residents on two linked housing estates, The Public Haybox will open dialogue within the local community and build the agency of participants to reimagine responses to poverty, health and social justice responses as built on mutual aid and solidarity.
"We are excited to receive this Catalyst Award. It will enable us to test out the real impacts of bottom-up social justice, where creative making, using sustainable materials sits at the heart of the changes, co-led with local groups already making a difference to the challenges their communities face." - Sally Labern and James Harrington, Project Leads
Catalyst Awards scaling grant winners
Based in Bournemouth, the Disabled Entrepreneurs Business Start-up Service+ is a self-employment start-up project, run by the Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship charity (SAMEE), designed to help narrow the disability employment gap in the area following the pandemic. With the help of a scaling grant, the DEBSS project will be able to work with a new cohort of vulnerable adults in Dorset to access impactful support to create self-employment opportunities and improve confidence and well-being.
"The RSA Scaling Grant award will enable us to fund a brand-new project in 2023 which will significantly enhance our social impact. We will now be able to transform the lives of 25 Dorset-based unemployed disabled adults by helping them to become sustainably self-employed." - Samantha Everard, CEO of The SAMEE charity and Project Lead
South London Music Therapy Clinic
North London Music Therapy Clinic CIC has been given a Scaling Award to open a sister clinic in South London. As of early 2023, Greenwich has three-year waiting lists to access music therapy, and this project will respond to this high demand by opening a centre to serve people of all ages living with anxiety, stress and depression, and transform the mental health of individuals through music. The project will include recruitment of service providers as well as setting up long-term referral processes, along with a three-week trial of delivering 25 therapy sessions per week.
"We are delighted to receive this generous support from the RSA and to be working with them throughout the grant period. It has been an aim of NLMT's for a long time to open a sister clinic in South London, and these vital funds will enable that aim to become a reality within the next year. We are privileged to provide necessary music therapy services and to be able to bring that to a new location with ongoing proven need. To do this in partnership with the RSA lends us the status and expertise needed to ensure this project will be a resounding success." - Marianne Rizkallah, Director and Head Music Therapist and Project Lead
Working with researchers Ellena Charlton (Research Lead at LAH and Creative Health MaSC student UCL) and Hannah Sercombe (FL researcher), Partner Up is a platform which aims map cultural social prescribing across London in order to collect and make visible opportunities across the cultural voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, and support the ambition of NHS’s integrated care system to plan and deliver joined up local health and care services. The platform will aim to showcase cultural social prescribing through multiple data points, for example by borough, art form or cost. The platform also aims to bring cultural partners together in order to collaborate on commissions from the NHS, as well as share best practice, case studies and evaluation of creative health in London.
"We are really pleased to receive Catalyst funding from the RSA to support the creative health sector across London through the mapping and development of our Partner Up tool. This project will allow us to map cultural assets in key boroughs and help raise the profile of cultural social prescribing and arts and health work to primary care networks at a local level. Our hope is that this tool is beneficial to both the NHS and the new integrated care system commissioning structure and the culture sector too, with the greatest beneficiaries being people in London being able to access creative health in their local communities." - Anna Woolf, Project Lead
MoneyMovers is a peer-learning programme empowering women to move their personal finances to support climate action. The programme trains women to host a three-session peer-learning programme in communities with friends and neighbours about finances and climate action. By participating, women grow capabilities, agency and are able to access a supportive green finance network. The project has already successfully encouraged 140 women to move £1.2 million towards more sustainable investments. The scaling grant will enable them to scale and reach a further 150 women, and put an estimated £2.5 million towards climate action.
"We are thrilled to be Catalyst Award winners. This grant will enable us to scale up our impact and grow our movement of women learning from each other about how to take the financial climate action which is so urgently needed right now." - Zahra Davidson, Project Lead
We're excited to share that the spring 2023 round of awards will look different as we explore how we support and partner with entrepreneurs to regenerate people, place and planet. This will mean updating our funding processes and criteria to support this mission.
If you would like to hear more, email [email protected].
If you are a Fellow, we are also setting up a discussion space on Circle, our new Fellow platform. We will also be sharing some of our thinking ahead of the next round, so keep an eye on the RSA website or sign up to the newsletter to stay up to date.