How to Create Better Lives

In this exciting new podcast series, Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett (@SirTomHH) interviews founders of charities, social businesses and social movements, highlighting the wonderful work being done right here in the UK.

After a successful business career, Tom left the financial sector to become Chair of Marie Curie. He has led the government review on charitable giving, founded two successful charities and backed many others, some of which failed. The charity founder he admires most is his wife – founder of Smart Works.  

Working with four of the country’s leading charitable foundations, The National Lottery Community Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Fore and Suffolk Community Foundation; The Change Makers identified fifty founders from eighteen year old to eighty year olds, from north to south, from health to ornithology.  

Listen to find out – Why did they do it? What skills do you need? Will your obsession cause you happiness or great pain? Can you afford to do this? Will the state be your friend? Are funders saints or exasperating? How do you hand on your charity to somebody else? Do you need a business plan? Should you fly solo or find a friend as your cofounder who has complimentary skills to your own? 

These and many other topics form the basis of fascinating, serious, and often humorous stories.

You will enjoy whoever you are, but if you are thinking of starting to create social change, you can listen to those who have been there before you – pitfalls are flagged and handy tips shared. We hope you enjoy the ride.

THH portrait

In this episode we meet our host Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett who will talk with Lady Juliet Hughes-Hallett, his wife and inspiration; co-founder of Smart Works, a UK based charity that provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.

Link to episode 1



This week we meet Ed Fidoe who in his twenties decided to create a school that had an entirely different approach to education, hence he established School21, where children did things differently, develop skills and attributes that went beyond what was tested in exams, including speaking skills, craftmanship, grit and spark. 

Link to episode 2



This week Sir Tom talks with Dame Stephanie Shirley who arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939 from Nazi Germany on the kinder transport. She started what became Xansa plc (now part of the Sopra Group) on her dining room table with £6 in 1962. She is now a successful IT entrepreneur, serial charity founder and ardent philanthropist. She established Shirley Foundation and co-founded the Oxford Internet Institute.

Link to episode 3 



In this episode we meet Marcellus Baz. Born and raised in Nottingham, Marcellus grew up to become a product of his surroundings. Involved in gang activity from his youth, Marcellus spent much of his time running from the law and dealing with the consequences of his lifestyle. Throught the deaths of loved ones including his best friend, a moment of chance changed Marcellus’s life forever. When he was avoiding the police and found himself in a leisure centre boxing class, supported by the coach, Marcellus reformed his life through learning to box and now in a similar way he is reforming lives of others through Switch-Up.

Link to episode 4 

Sister Mary Joy

In episode seven we listen to the extraordinary story of Sister Mary Joy as she moves from being Europe’s first female professional firewoman to being a jockey, a nun and then a Change Maker. Sister Mary Joy established The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre which provides riding and equine therapy for children with special needs and people with dementia.

Link to episode 7


Nick O'Shea Cover

In episode eight we meet a part-time Change Maker Nick O’Shea who besides being Chief Economist for Centre for Mental Health also runs Ignition Brewery, a brewery employing people with learning disabilities, involved in all aspects of the business from brewing and bottling to selling and product promotion.

Link to episode 8


Rory Moore



In the new episode of The Change Makers, Sir Tom introduces us to Dame Esther Rantzen, who following her career as a successful broadcaster, created two charities: Childline promoting child protection  and The Silver Line UK combating loneliness in older people’s lives.

Listen to episode 14



In episode fifteen of The Change Makers we meet Brad Gudger whose personal experience with cancer has given him an asset and skills to create a charity Alike to support and guide other people diagnosed with cancer.

Listen to episode 15


Sophie Humphreys

In the second last episode of the first series of #TheChangeMakers, Sir Tom meets with Sophie Humphreys OBE, founder and driver of two charities: Pause, focusing on the wellbeing of children taken into care and SHiFT, a charity enabling children & young people to escape the destructive cycles of crime.

Listen to episode 16


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