Duchess of Cornwall
Unstuffy and unaffected in a family for whom protocol is central, the future king’s consort has won an unlikely array of fans, from staunch republican Alastair Campbell to Katie Price. The duchess is also a feminist and has put that at the forefront of her royal duties, visiting centres for victims of rape and sexual assault and talking about FGM. She is president of the South Bank’s Women of the World Festival.
Chief executive, Save the Children
The real Birgitte Nyborg — she was prime minister of Denmark from 2011 to 2015 — now heads up the children’s charity in London. She calls it her “dream job” and has long promoted education, working with the UN. She is married to Stephen Kinnock, who has followed in his father’s footsteps and become a Labour MP.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Is there a couple in the world who excite more interest than the Cambridges? Both keen conservationists, William and Catherine are harnessing their celebrity to key campaigns to save species threatened by extinction. They toured India and Bhutan this year and visited the Kaziranga national park, where they fed rhinos and elephants. With Prince Harry, they are also spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end stigma around mental health.
She’s best known as Colin Firth’s glamorous Italian wife (a title she is proud of, once asking: “Does it make any of us less of a feminist because we’re someone’s wife?”) but Firth is an industrious campaigner against slavery in the supply chain. A documentary producer, she is also creative director of brand consultancy Eco-Age, asking us all to question our rapacious consumption.
Founder, Naz Legacy Foundation
Bokhari has raised more than £1 million through a foundation named after his father Naz, the first Muslim headteacher of a British secondary school. Its diversity project engages poor communities with culture and politics, regularly taking young people to No 10 and parliament. Bokhari was awarded an OBE in last summer’s Queen’s birthday honours.
Co-founder, Women’s Equality Party
A journalist and author of a very unofficial Prince Charles biography, Mayer set up the Women’s Equality Party last year with Sandi Toksvig. The party came sixth in the London mayoral race, beating George Galloway. She considers the WEP, led by Sophie Walker, to be a “wake-up call for Westminster”.
Founder, The Bike Project
The phrase “get on your bike” has a softer ring to it when said in conjunction with this social entrepreneur. Founder of The Bike Project, which recycles unwanted bikes and gives them to refugees, Stein won the Lloyds Bank social entrepreneur of the year award in 2015. Over the past three years his project has donated more than 1,200 bikes to refugees, enabling mobility both geographically and socially.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has described his old friend as a “true inspiration” to Londoners. Lawrence, who was made a Labour peer in 2013, has campaigned tirelessly against racism and knife crime after her son, Stephen, was murdered
in 1993 at the age of 18. The foundation set up in his name runs training programmes and bursaries to help young black people join the professions.
Founder and director, Stellar Libraries and Cityread
A librarian who DJs and loves to party, Ryan has raised £1.2 million for the capital’s temples of the mind. After being made redundant from London Libraries in 2010, she set up Stellar Libraries, the UK’s only creative agency that designs campaigns to promote and celebrate literature and libraries. She also launched Cityread, which encourages Londoners to read a chosen book — always set in the capital — every April. This year’s choice was Ten Days by Gillian Slovo, based on the 2011 riots.
Human rights campaigner
A magistrate turned campaigner, Prem founded the charity Freedom, which fights to end modern-day slavery, forced marriage, so-called honour crimes and FGM. Prem is carrying on the work of her father, who set up a free college to educate girls in India. She has also written two books: But It’s Not Fair, about forced marriage, and Cut Flowers, about FGM, and donated 50,000 copies of her books to young people.
With Leon’s superfood salads and chicken hot boxes, Dimbleby has transformed how Londoners do lunch al desko. He’s also brought the same healthy eating mission to schools, leading the Government’s review of what children are served. Refined carbs are banned at his own table. Dimbleby, whose father is the BBC broadcaster David and mother is cookery writer Josceline, co-founded London Union, which transforms empty spaces into street food markets.
Anti-FGM campaigner and co-founder, Daughters of Eve
“Just a girl with amazing hair and a laptop … who has changed legislation in this country.” That was how Caitlin Moran described Ali, as she crowned the anti-FGM campaigner her woman of the year. Ali, who was a child refugee, also campaigns for the internationally displaced. Her feminist book, Rude, will be out next year.
The Goldsmith dynasty’s daughter is an activist and journalist. Outspoken, she even criticised her own brother’s campaign for London mayor. She posted £20,000 towards bail for Julian Assange six years ago, but then hit out at the “cultish devotion” shown to the WikiLeaks co-founder.
He may dress in Versace and own a 50-room Jacobean mansion, but Caudwell is also Britain’s biggest individual taxpayer and a mega-philanthropist to boot. The Phones4U founder doesn’t want his children to be trust fund kids — instead he aims to “leave two billion to charity, maybe three or four”. He spoke last year about his family’s battles with Lyme disease, and he has set up a charity to research the condition.
Reaching 136,000 women in 90 countries, the Cherie Blair Foundation helps female entrepreneurs in emerging markets. The wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, Booth, a leading silk, has now left the human rights practice Matrix Chambers for Omnia Strategy, her own international consultancy which advises governments and big business. She encountered controversy last year over listing Abdulla Yameen, the president of the Maldives, among her clients.
Solomon Smith and Mahamed Hashi
Co-founders, Brixton Soup Kitchen
As a teenager, Smith set up a football match between Brixton and Peckham gangs — a bid to patch up relations. Now he feeds the homeless in south London, running Brixton Soup Kitchen with longtime friend Hashi. The pair deliver food to homeless people around the city and say the need has never been greater. As Hashi puts it, those they help have no one else they can depend on.
Founder, JAGS Foundation
In 2007, Ford’s son Andre was shot dead at Streatham ice rink at the age of 17. She responded by founding the JAGS Foundation which supports bereaved families, tries to stamp out youth-on-youth violence and promotes reconciliation between the affected and offenders. The charity, which takes its name from Andre’s initials (James Andre Godfrey Smartt-Ford), also provides education and training for young people.
Psychotherapist and co-founder, Daughters of Eve
Alongside Nimko Ali, Hussein is the face of the anti-FGM movement in the UK. She presented Channel 4 documentary The Cruel Cut and this year criticised Sky News for its plans to show a girl undergoing FGM in Somalia. Hussein works with survivors, providing psychotherapy, and speaks in schools.
Best known for his Michelin-starred restaurant, Pollen Street Social, Atherton is also a board member of Hospitality Action, which helps those in the industry suffering from illness, poverty, bereavement or domestic violence. Last year he launched Social Sunday, an annual event giving chefs and others in the industry the chance to host lunches in aid of Hospitality Action.
Founder and chief executive, Mazí Mas
“Mazí Mas” means “with us” in Greek — the ethos of Kopcke’s pop-up restaurants, which employ female refugees. Half-Greek, half-German, she was inspired by her Greek godmother, Maria Marouli, who taught her how to cook and had wanted to open a bakery but was prevented by her husband, who thought business was not for women.
Rejected by the dragons on Dragons’ Den, Boyle still managed to find funding for his social enterprise, the Beyond Food Foundation. He runs Brigade on Tooley Street, where he hires and trains the homeless for careers in hospitality. He became a chef at 16, worked as an apprentice at the Savoy, has cooked for Saudi princes and was Unilever’s first ever culinary ambassador.
A medical student at King’s College London who is also studying for a masters in global health at UCL, Khan is head of the homelessness arm of the Acts of Random Kindness project — a campaign spearheaded by the university’s Islamic society. He is also the national director of Charity Week UK, which has raised more than £400,000 this year.
Chief executive, Emmaus Lambeth
If you’ve ever walked past a shop with a green sign and an emblem of a dove holding a flower, it’s an Emmaus store. It’s part of the charity’s mission to “give homeless people a bed … and a reason to get out of it”. In Lambeth, Emmaus offers up to 54 formerly homeless people a home and work which keeps the community solvent. Hayes used to be a senior branch manager at Nationwide Building Society.
Chief executive, School-Home Support
Working with some of the most vulnerable children — those with families in extreme poverty or who have suffered domestic abuse — School-Home Support aims to break the cycle of low achievement and low income. Tallis says the best piece of management advice she has received is “humility does not equal humble”.
Having enjoyed a stellar career as a journalist, pioneering feminist Boycott had not imagined she would end up working for the Mayor of London. But her appointment to the Board of London Food in 2012 has proved to be an inspired choice. She has worked hard to tackle the capital’s obesity crisis, arguing this year in favour of legislation to encourage healthy eating.
Unicef goodwill ambassador
As possibly the most widely recognised man on earth, Beckham uses his fame for good. He may be best known as a footballer or for posing in his underwear, but in his role as Unicef goodwill ambassador he brings smiles to those in real need. In June he visited children living with HIV in Swaziland to see how money raised by his 7 Fund is being spent.
Campaigner for women in art
Since selling her television production company Shine, Murdoch has struck out in a different direction with a bid to transform the art world. She is a trustee of Tate and her Freelands Foundation is due to hand out its first £100,000 award this autumn, specifically set aside for women artists and organisations that work with them.
Director, Policy Exchange
Fiercely bright Godson, formerly chief leader writer at the Daily Telegraph, has been described as Britain’s acknowledged expert on the problem of social cohesion. The establishment of an “integration hub” at the think tank this year may prove timely as the Government looks to tackle issues connected to immigration and integration.
Chief executive, FareShare
Last year FareShare redistributed enough food for 18.3 million meals, providing food to disadvantaged children, homeless hostels, community cafes and more. Boswell is passionate about fighting hunger and food waste, connected problems which London urgently needs to solve.
When the BBC announced that Fry was to step down as host of QI last October, it brought to an end a remarkable 13-year run. How Alan Davies will fare without him is anyone’s guess. Fry, meanwhile, turned campaigner in June, attacking the NHS’s position not to fund the provision of PrEP, the HIV-preventative medication.
Dame Julia Peyton-Jones
She may have left her role as director of the Serpentine Galleries in July, but after putting the Hyde Park institution at the forefront of the London art scene her legacy will remain for years to come. Dame Julia is a cultural tour de force and a fundraising machine, a member of the Royal Mint advisory committee, recipient of this year’s Ada Louise Huxtable prize and an honorary graduate of the University for the Creative Arts. This definitely isn’t the last we’ll see of her.
Co-founder and co-director, Lauriston Lights
In 2013, Carr co-founded Lauriston Lights, a Hackney summer school for children from deprived backgrounds. As a child, she attended a state primary school in the area then won a scholarship to City of London School for Girls. Carr tries to bring the same “inspirational, mobilised ethos” she experienced there to the camp and to encourage curiosity.
Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers
Founders and directors, Fashion Revolution
The brains behind a fashion initiative created to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and incite interest in a global campaign to stimulate change. Castro and Somers run a non-profit community interest project which launched in reaction to the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. Its aim is to bring brands and retailers together to make maximum impact.
Managing director and chief global political analyst, Citi
The first chief political analyst to work for a major financial institution. Fordham’s research focuses on difficult-to-quantify risks; she is also helping spearhead Citi’s coverage of gender and socio-economic themes. This year she was appointed to the UN’s first high-level panel on women’s economic empowerment.
Chief executive, the Prince’s Trust
A report by the Trust in July showed that children from poorer backgrounds are often unable to access the chances available to those from affluent families. As Milburn put it, there is a “social bank of mum and dad” just as much as a financial one. Still, the Prince’s Trust makes a real difference to many — and in the past decade alone it has returned £1.4 billion in value to society by helping disadvantaged young people.
Chief executive, Crisis
After making his mark as chief executive of Scope and with a stint at Unicef UK under his belt, Sparkes took charge of homelessness charity Crisis two years ago. He was among the campaigners who gave a muted welcome to government measures intended to ease homelessness this year, arguing that changes to the law were necessary to make more help available to single people sleeping rough.
He stole Julia Roberts’s heart as billionaire Edward in Pretty Woman but stole ours in March when he came to promote his new film Time Out of Mind, in which he plays a homeless man. He used the role to raise awareness of the plight of London’s rough sleepers, calling for improved services for single homeless adults and an expansion ofsocial housing. He also campaigns for HIV/Aids awareness and ecological causes.