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menu2, Artists, Musicians, Photographers, Film Makers, Campaigners, Experts, Writers

Expert: Michael Norton

Species: Homo conscious



Michael Norton has changed the face of social innovation in Great Britain. Over the past thirty years, Michael has created several highly successful socially progressive programmes, which effect thousands of lives all over Great Britain. He founded the Directory of Social Change (DSC), the UK’s leading agency providing information, training and support to voluntary organizations, which he ran from 1975 to 1994. In 1998, he was awarded the OBE for his services to charity.
He has been active in this field since 1965 when he set up the UK’s first volunteer programme to tutor incoming migrant children and families in English, and organised a centre staffed entirely by volunteers for Bengali children in London’s East End to teach English and provide recreational activities.
In 1994, Michael took the lead in setting up Changemakers, a national organisation which enables young people to address community issues or problems that concern them by setting up a project to address these issues. The slogan of Changemakers is “Young people lead the change; adults support the learning”. Changemakers works across England, has a network of young advocates and works in schools to promote active citizenship and enterprise education.
In 1995, he set up the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action (CIVA) to promote innovation and new thinking for voluntary action. CIVA’s current work includes: developing schemes in the UK and internationally which promote young people’s community involvement; supporting the development of street children’s banks in South Asia, which provide facilities for keeping money safe, encourage saving and offer loans to set up small enterprises, and which are run entirely by the children; village publishing and village libraries in India to bring information to rural people in appropriate and affordable ways.
In 1998, he developed the idea of YouthBank, which gives young people the opportunity to donate money to local causes, with the emphasis on supporting projects run by young people. This is now being rolled out as a national programme. There are now around 75 YouthBanks in the UK. The idea is being spread internationally, and the pilot programme in India let to the setting up of a Street Children’s Bank which Michael helped develop and extend into Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka..
In 2002, Michael established the annual “Voices of Change” international summer school for young activists. This is operated through a company run entirely by young people.
In 2000 Michael convened a small group which went on to set up UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, which received a £100 million endowment from the Millennium Commission in 2003 and now makes over 1,000 awards a year to enable individuals with ideas of social benefit to get started. UnLtd has also launched a £4 million a year youth awards scheme which will make awards to young people aged from 11 up to 25.
Michael Norton is a Founding Trustee of UnLtd, and also a Trustee of Just Change which promotes fair trade and of The Global Ideas Bank.
Michael’s current projects include The Otesha Project in the UK, where young people promote ideas of sustainable living in a fairer world to other young people, MyBank which is a children’s banking programme promoting enterprise and financial literacy, launching “tap” Water, which will be a campaign against bottled water, and developing action by residents in London and Bristol to create a carbon neutral council housing estate.

Expedition to the Antarctic

From the bottom of the world - Some thoughts on returning from an Antarctic expedition

by Michael Norton, author of 365 WAYS TO CHANGE THE WORLD and THE EVERYDAY ACTIVIST, 10th December 2007

Download report in pdf format here

The Everyday Activist (book) - Published October 2007 by Boxtree (a PanMacmillan imprint), £9.99

The book suggests the following six steps to changing the world

Step 1: You can change the world. It's people who will make the world a bit better or their community a nicer place to live in. Everyone can play a part. Be inspired by some people who have gone out and done something. If they can do it, you can too. Find out if you have what it takes.

Step 2: Decide to become an Everyday Activist. Give up apathy. That's the biggest problem facing the world. Start by doing little things that will make a difference. Do lots of little things and you will begin to make a really big difference. Get into the habit of everyday activism. You will find that it will change you as well as change the world.

Step 3: What's the problem? Now you're beginning to get into the swing of things. The next step is to identify the problems that are really important to you in your life, in your community, in your country, in the wider world. What's bugging you? What do you want to see made better? And are you prepared to do something about it?

Step 4: Come up with a solution. If there's a problem, there must also be a solution. Think creatively and come up with your very own world-beating idea for dealing with the problem. If you have a great idea, then making things happen becomes a whole lot easier.

Step 5: Go out and do something. Start your own project. Find others who will work with you to make something happen. It can be a lot of fun. You will make a difference, and you will make new friends. It could even change your life.

Step 6: World domination. Your project could become really successful. It could be replicated all over your country, perhaps even all over the world. You might even win a Right Livelihood Award or the Nobel Peace Prize. A great idea that meets a real need oh, and a lot of hard work that is all it takes!

The book also includes an Action Guide.

To run a successful project, you need to be well organised, you need to tell people about what you are planning and what you have achieved, and you need to mobilise all the resources you will need.

This book includes an action guide on how to get organised, how to communicate and how to fundraise.

365 Ways to Change the World - 2008 edition (book)
Author: Michael Norton
Title: 365 Ways to Change the World

Thanks for taking an interest in our book. The book is written by Michael Norton. Michael spent two years collecting ideas, developing details and researching further information sources and a practical guide to things that everyone can do everyday.

(If you want to go into more detail about particular issues, he also offers lots of additional places you can investigate to find out more.)

Michael promotes the idea that it is always worth doing something, and no-one needs to feel irrelevant to the world's problems. He's written the book in an intelligent, exciting and straightforward way that will help you realise how much even your own small and individual actions can help make a difference and how much fun you can have doing them!

This ingenious handbook suggests one action for every day of the year - some are intriguing, many are unusual, a few involve fundraising, almost all can be planned or done from your home or computer, most will be fun, all are achievable.


* Support trade justice: buy three footballs

* Avoid landfalls: start freecycling

* Create a lifeline: for remote African villages with wind-up radio

* Sow the seeds of a green revolution: go guerrilla gardening

* Organise a fundraising event: speed dating for safer childbirth

* Get out of debt: join the church of Stop Shopping

* Fight child slavery: nibble on some fairtrade chocolate

* Influence the world's media: become a blogger

365 Ways to Change the World
2006 mass market edition

Need to Know: Fundraising (book)

How to be a Community Champion (book) - Published by Community Links

A lively and practical guide packed with ideas and advice for young people wanting to take action in their community or change the world.

How to be a Community Champion is aimed at those young people who wish to engage in some sort of community action to help them do it themselves.