We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on what has been a major year for Spark+Mettle. 2015 was a jam-packed year full of growth; we learned, enjoyed and achieved a great deal.
We kicked off 2015 with the #BlueForWhat campaign. We wanted people to take a proactive approach to leading happy and fulfilled lives so we asked people to think about what they really love doing, even when they’re feeling blue. Lots of people sent in their best shots, some of which you can see here! With the same theme of proactivity, we produced a whole video series on flourishing; a few of our co-creators shared their thoughts and feelings on positive emotions. You can watch Gianni as he talks about being reunited with his mum and starting his own business at 16 and also check out Kwabena as he shares how being around people boosts his positive emotions and how comparison can so often be the thief of joy.
We were thrilled to announce our selection for new young trustee: Arfah Farooq. Arfah is no stranger to Spark+Mettle—as a co-creator from the first cycle of Star Track and the co-founder of Discoverables, she has inputted greatly to our ongoing work. Arfah was also the Marketing Executive at Makers Academy, a 12-week coding bootcamp that teaches web development.
March signalled the time to wave goodbye to the 2014/5 cohort of our flagship programme, Star Track. We had fantastic co-creators that continue to inspire us and the programme itself! Cherish, a former co-creator, says that Star Track ‘is the best thing that has happened to me, my future is slowly unfolding because of this programme.’
We also welcomed the wonderful Mickella Nikoi onto the team as our Communications Officer.
April was a month of new beginnings. We invited everyone to join us in celebration of the arrival of adorable Elvin James Teasley, son of our founder Eugenie who consequently stepped down as our CEO and appointed Kazvare to man the fort in her place.
We were totally excited about celebrating our fourth birthday! It gave us an opportunity to reflect on just how far we’ve come. What’s more, it made us thankful for our supporters, partners, champions, co-creators and volunteers, who have been with us on this incredible journey.
We also had the absolute privilege of running a workshop for The Who Cares? Trust; we planned and delivered this session alongside two of our brilliant co-creators. We even created a short video to capture the fun.
In addition, May was the month that we welcomed the lovely Kate Fahy, our Projects Officer.
June was polished off with news that we had the brilliant OSCA working with us and helping us to evaluate the impact of our work thus far and refine our theory of change model. Over two weeks, co-creators, staff members and trustees alike gathered to give input on this process.
We rang in July with an opportunity to record our very first podcast episode at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden; we had a mix of co-creators and professionals telling us about where they find their spark.
We then ran a character strengths workshop at Trinity Lewisham Secondary School. Our team consisted of co-creators Seyi and Amy—as well as former Agents from the Star Track programme. We explored mettle, purpose and positive emotions with over 70 Year 10 students, who are transitioning into year 11—the year of the GCSE crunch!
We worked with 20 young people in Somers Town and gave them the opportunity to learn the basics of filmmaking. Once all the hard work was done, we premiered their mini masterpieces at a special screening at The Hospital Club. We filmed a Behind The Scenes with some of our young filmmakers.
During this time we also officially kicked off our Founding Associates programme, which was designed to create a small but diverse first cohort of inspiring, engaging and knowledgeable Spark+Mettle Associates that can then become brilliant co-facilitators of our growing programme of strengths and skills workshops.
September brought the most explosive news of the year: we embarked on a super exciting partnership with the British Council and HSBC on a project called Taqaddam (‘Move Forward’ in Arabic). We were set to be working with young people between the ages of 15 and 16 in eight countries in North Africa and the Middle East.
With all the excitement around Taqaddam we had another great addition to the Spark+Mettle team: Anna Rowlands became the Taqaddam Programme Manager.
Around this time as well, we launched our inaugural Art Award for talented young artists to enter, for the opportunity to showcase their work and make new contacts along the way. We selected 12 finalists and invited them to a Mettle Masterclass. To find out more about the Mettle Masterclass and our finalists, please click here.
Eugenie officially stepped down as CEO and we were sad to see her go but she didn’t go far! She became the Chair of Trustees to ‘support the strategic direction and growth of Spark+Mettle’. You can read more about Eugenie’s decision to step down in her blog here.
We were also taking character strength building expertise up to sunny Bolton. Some of our homegrown Founding Associates spent the day with Year 8 and 9 students—exploring Mettle, Positive Relationships and Confidence as well as the growth mindset.
We welcomed the newest member of the Spark+Mettle team, Lewis Greener. Lewis is the Taqaddam Project Coordinator and we were thrilled to welcome him into the Spark+Mettle family.
We held our fourth This Is Not A Pub Quiz. Fits of laughter were the soundtrack of the evening as the teams let loose their creativity. We are incredibly thankful to our sponsors and teams who made the night a huge success. The money we raised went to supporting the costs of some of our key programmes. To read more about our annual fundraiser, please click here.
The closing chapter of 2015 saw us exhibiting some great artwork at The Russet in celebration of the Art Award competition we launched in September. A definite highlight of last year, we are still blown away by the creativity displayed by the young entrants, we definitely hope to have another Art Award with more talented entrants!
We also held our Christmas Parlay at Hub 67, a temporary community space made from recycled materials from the Olympic Games!
To wrap up the year we welcomed two new interns who were geared up to help Spark+Mettle grow even more in 2016.
With this gift of hindsight, we can truly take a few steps back and appreciate our achievements. We look forward to continuing the momentum of 2015 with many more new faces, events and opportunities!