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Catalyst Awards recipients 2018-19

Project name: Airbase

Fellow: Christoph Martyn Xavier Warrack

About: Addressing a need for more learning space in rural areas of the UK, Airbase is an online platform connecting educators and students with venues – a sort of Airbnb for education. It has the potential to build community resilience by enabling any premises to host learning and skills development, and any individual to find and build their own vocational pathway. The project’s one-week pilot in Devon will test the concept, to inform the next phase of development.



Project name: Art and Energy: Solar PV

Fellow: Chloe Uden

About: Tired of the boring, inky navy rectangles of every solar panel they see, Art and Energy in Exeter are developing more creative installations using solar PV technology. Working alongside the School of Art in Exeter, The Fab Lab in Plymouth and University of Exeter Renewable Energy Dept., they will be using the Grant to create a prototype for new generations and their artistic relationship with this increasingly used energy source.


Project name: Bread Funds UK

Fellow: Stuart Field

About: When self-employed people get sick, there is no sick pay, but Bread Funds UK has a suggestion. Taking inspiration from Holland, where it has successfully run for some years, Bread Funds UK enable a group of people to help each other financially if they are unable to work for more than 30 days. It encourages community, based on self-organisation, trust and mutual support, and is an alternative to income protection insurance, which currently only 9% of self-employed people in the UK have. 

The project will run a pilot with groups of 25-50 people to test proof of concept. Members pay joining fees and monthly contributions, and can approach the group whenever they are financially disadvantaged.


Project name: County Lines: developing a toolkit for partners

Fellow: Joe Caluori

About: Gangs in urban areas have, for years, groomed teenagers and children to deal drugs in rural areas – crossing ‘county lines’. Here, they set up temporary bases to deal from, while the children are listed as missing at home. Using data in an innovative way to address various factors in this complex issue, County Lines aims to develop a toolkit for Local Authorities to share intelligence. The project will run two workshops with key individuals from Islington and a County Council to refine the analytical methodology in connecting data from both areas, and brainstorming responses to findings. A pioneering approach in response to the absence of local government action, this model could be scaled up to save children in danger nationwide.


Project name: Talk Shop: creating a genuine national conversation on health and social care

Fellow: Perry Walker

About: In the light of funding cuts to health and social care funding, and continual delay in action from politicians, Talk Shop aims to start the national conversation on health and social care amongst citizens. The project is to develop and distribute a discussion kit, aiming to reach 1,000 people, to enable and guide discussions on key dilemmas.

Next steps: The next step is to learn how to reach 10,000 people in a future project, and how to turn the results of all these discussions into a ‘people’s compact’ with government and public services.


Project name: The 5 STA-Z educational game

Fellow: Susan Fairburn

About: 5 STA-Z is a boardgame developed by Joel Baraka (Queen's Young Leaders Award, 2017), when he was a child in a refugee camp in Uganda. The game was to encapsulate education for children in migrant communities, rather than wait for international aid. Now studying at the University of Wisconsin, he has been working with Susan to continue to develop the game, with pilot programmes each summer for the last two years. The Grant will develop physical games and t-shirts for volunteers to deliver in the camps themselves, to really see how effective this product can be.


Project name: Women's Empowerment in Central Vietnam (WECV)

Fellow: Alison Kwan

About: A simple, sustainable business model supporting women in rural areas to build their own independent businesses.

Converting basic food commodities into premium dried goods using solar dryers has proved successful in three Southeast Asian countries, reducing poverty and creating value-added production. However, farmers can be reluctant to invest in the dryers without testing the produce, so this project installs five prototypes, for 30% of the cost. As their business develops farmers can own them outright. This model can be replicated and scaled, to further empower communities to consider sustainable businesses and technological opportunities in the future.


Project name: the-wib (The Wellbeing indicator Badge)

Fellow: Alan Bec

About: the-wib is a physical badge, which can be adjusted to display numbers 1-10, to indicate to others your current state of well-being and energy. Alan has been wearing it for a year, and working with established community programmes to support delivery of well-being initiatives within Healthcare, Education, Employers & socially isolated individuals. It has also proven useful in physical recovery (e.g. your leg can be healed, but your mental state may not yet be). 



Project name: Lab_13 International

Fellow: Rick Hall

About: A community project delivering joinery, upcycling, furniture making and DIY skills to local people in underserved areas, which they can then use to create social enterprises. Working with all ages, Urban Workbench builds skills and networks and resources of individuals to create more resilient communities in the deprived areas around Liverpool.

Next steps: Lab_13 International wants to grow their project to meet demand, and bring the work further to Newcastle, Stoke-On-Trent and Barking.


Project name: Urban Workbench

Fellow: Kate Stewart

About: A previous Catalyst recipient, whose project scaled in an unexpectedly effective way, Lab_13 is back to scale in a different direction. The last project implemented student-led science labs in schools around the world, and this time they want to scale digitally. The project seeks to develop an interactive web platform for children to exchange research questions and to collaborate in investigations in real time.

Next steps: Collaborating with another FRSA, they also aim to introduce sustainable technology to sub-Saharan Africa and parts of India, developing the capacity for internet conferencing school children and the Scientists in Residence. They are also building the Lab_13 Cookbook, an online compendium of experiments and investigations.