Nesta and The Cabinet Office

London UK

Where things were:

Since  2010, there has been a huge push to harness the power of volunteering as a social good, and a pathway to quality work. Whether it’s utilising employee time, young people building purpose, or citizens stepping up to help the healthcare system – volunteering is now a key part of our system. 

What was needed:

Between 2011 and 2016 Stephen led work with the Cabinet Office and Nesta to design and deliver funds and programs that supported social action across the UK. Social Action is a form of volunteering where the participants actively get involved in the volunteer activity. 

Stephen in action:

Stephen oversaw the strategic design of a £42m fund to invest in social action projects. He was also responsible for the measurement of projects, its development and the evolution of the work. 


The Theory of Change that was developed for this project has been adopted across the whole social sector, with pre-application support programmes being developed for applying organisations. Over 100 organisations were supported over three years including Helping Hospitals, Care UK, and many more. The work provided a great foundation that has informed much of the social action work occurring in the UK today.