What is NEON?
NEON is a network of over 1,600 UK organisers from 900 different civil society groups. We run powerful trainings and support campaigns to help progressives win social, economic and environmental justice.
Why is NEON needed?
We need more connected, focused and skillful organising. That’s because right now, despite notable gains, the progressive movement faces huge challenges. The rise of ethnic nationalism is terrifying and most indicators in the UK, and globally, are going backwards: from climate change to the rise in racism and inequality.
These issues require systemic changes to our economy and society; this will take progressive movements that are aligned, skillful and strong. NEON is here to help build them.
How does NEON work?
NEON has three key goals:
- connect people, organisations and movements
- focus our movements on key battles
- build the leaders and organisations we need to win.
NEON’s theory of change operates on two levels. In the short term we directly help people with skills, connection and support. That creates impact like media hits, new campaigns launched or successful solidarity across movements on key battleground issues.
In the longer term, the bet is that by building deep relationships and alignment between progressive movements that we’ll see a new cohort of leaders and groups able to win lasting change.
Our work is based around a strong belief in the power of organising, the centrality of anti-oppression work, the importance of experimenting until we get it right and working with international organisers. Because our impact comes from our members we stay behind the scenes and stay small, intentional and nimble.
What is NEON’s impact?
Our impact comes through the groups we serve – over our first few years we’ve achieved:
- The largest UK network of progressive organisers totaling over 1,600 people from across 900 organisations and dozens of movements; providing a space for dialogue and alignment between groups who wouldn’t otherwise meet
- Over 900 high profile TV/Radio appearances, including Channel 4 News, the Today programme, Radio 5 Live, Sky News, Al Jazeera and Newsnight
- An active core leadership of about 200 who are now in leading positions across many of the top UK groups from Greenpeace to The Guardian to leading new movements
- Trained over 2,000 organisers in a range of skills from campaign strategy to leadership, political education to how to speak in the media using the toolkit we’ve developed
- Providing direct support to many of the most exciting groups from media work on Bridges Not Walls to training for shadow cabinet members on economic justice
- Helping launch dozens of new campaigns from supporting patients to organise against big pharma ripping off our NHS through to challenging the use of water cannons on London’s streets
Who is NEON?
NEON is a small organisation with an annual budget of about £300k. We’ve operated independently since we left NEF where we were based until summer 2015. Our programmes are led by a small core staff team:
Daniel Vockins (Director) Daniel co-founded NEON and leads on organisational strategy, culture and fundraising. Internally he’s also heading up the Framing the Economy programme helping come up with a new narrative on the economy. Daniel is also a Principal Fellow with the New Economics Foundation where NEON was originally based. He also co-founded Campaign Bootcamp and 10:10 where he’s still a trustee.
Charlotte Millar (Head of Training) Charlotte oversees the training strategy in NEON and is the lead coach on NEON OrgBuilders. She previously ran Campaign Lab, which created the foundations for NEON’s current training programmes: Movement Builders, OrgBuilders and Action Learning. She is also a co-founder of the Finance Innovation Lab, a Trustee of Public Interest Research Centre and Chair of Positive Money.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith (Senior Training Organiser) Ayeisha is leading on design and delivery of the UK’s first large-scale movement building programme. She has previously worked on political strategy and campaigns with Compass, on peace and dialogue in Israel/Palestine with the Oxford Research Group, and coordinated migration campaigns and projects with Itinerant Works and Migrants Rights Network. Ayeisha is an advisor for Take Back the City and Red Pepper, and has an MA in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy from Goldsmiths UoL.
Rosie Baines (Senior Press Officer) Rosie runs the New Economy Spokesperson Network. The project looks to substantially boost the number of progressive, diverse voices in the mainstream media, by providing training, coaching and PR booking support. Rosie was previously a press officer at a number of national museums and is a member of the campaign group, Museum Detox.
George Woods (Head of Organising) George manages NEON’s programmes to build the power of organisers and campaigners across social movements in Britain. He mentors and coaches leaders, and leads on networking and other specialist events for our membership. George has fifteen years of experience in social movements, with a background in the trade union movement. He is currently an advisor to We Own It, a public ownership campaign group.
Kevin Smith (Senior Press Officer) Kevin runs the New Economy Spokesperson Network, and has over 12 years of press and media experience for NGOs, social movements and grassroots groups. Formally the communications manager at Global Justice Now he has a focus on trade, climate and oil campaigns, and has developed countless campaign activities into national stories and front pages. He has carried out media trainings from the local to the international level, and has managed social media channels for a series of different organisations.
We collaborate with a large number of contractors and partner organisations preferring to work together to deliver our programmes. We do hire new positions from time to time – which are listed on our jobs page.
NEON’s board of 6 organisers includes:
- Liz Hutchins (Chair): Director of Campaigning Impacts, Friends of the Earth
- Wilf Sullivan: Race Equality Officer, TUC
- Sirio Canós Donnay: Podemos/15-M organiser and Anthropologist
- Sam Tarry: Political Officer, TSSA (Transport Salaried Staff Association)
- Howard Reed: Director, Landman Economics
- Minda Burgos-Lukes: social justice campaigner and consultant
We are currently funded by The Oak Foundation, The KR Foundation, Friends Provident, JRCT, Barrow Cadbury, Unbound Philanthropy, the Pickwell Foundation, Partners For a New Economy, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and individual donations. We’re always looking for more funding – so if you’re interested in funding get in touch or head over to our donate page to find out more.