Photograph of Miri from Disrupt presenting to a seated audience at dining tables

A few months ago we realised that a few of the organisations we’re in regular contact with actually have the same funder – The Disrupt Foundation. As a radical, collaborative, and relatively small funder, we realised it would actually be useful to know who else they have been supporting and so we suggested partnering on a dinner for all their grantees.

On February 9th we proudly pulled it off. It was the first (but probably not the last) event of its kind. Although we initially planned to host it at SPACE4 we quickly outgrew the space when over 40 organisations from all over the country RSVP’d with a guest list of almost 90. We ended up moving the event to The Conduit in Covent Garden.

What happened

The event started at 18:30. We had 30 minutes of welcome drinks and mingling with an ice breaker activity – Disruptive Bingo!

Photograph of people looking at Disruptive Bingo
Disruptive Bingo Activity

At 19:00 guests were invited to sit down at themed tables that they had chosen when they entered: Migrant Rights and Racial Justice / Housing Justice and Racial Justice / Tech for Change / Law for Change / Organising for Change / Spaces for Change / Intersectional – Whatever.

Photograph of people sitting at dining tables

We started with some presentations, first from SPACE4 (Natasha) and Disrupt (Miri). Natasha talked about the spirit of SPACE4 and making connections in the space between professional and personal at events like these. Miri spoke about Disrupt being thankful for all the work being done by their grantees and using this opportunity to relax and enjoy.

After their short speeches, we played pre-recorded presentations from three grantees that couldn’t make it; Living Rent, Leeds Refugee Forum and Bristol Refugee and Asylum Seeker Partnership (BRASP).

Photograph of Natasha from SPACE4 presenting
Natasha from SPACE4
Photograph of Miri from The Disrupt Foundation presenting
Miri from Disrupt
Photograph of Emma from Living Rent presenting
Emma from Living Rent
Photograph of Ali from Leeds Refugee Forum presenting
Ali from Leeds Refugee Forum

Around 19:30 an all vegan dinner was served. We had beautiful sharing plates which kept the atmosphere informal and the conversation flowing.

Photograph of sharing food
Photograph of two people at dining table chatting

At 20:30 we ‘disrupted’ everyone again to show short videos by grantees and other inspiring projects. Conversation was lively until 22:00 when we had to leave the venue. Some of us took trains all the way back to Manchester, some returned to hotels, and some dared to continue to the pub.

Photograph of people at dining tables chatting
Photograph of people at dining tables chatting
Photograph of people at dining tables chatting
Photograph of people at dining tables chatting

All in all it was a wonderful evening with lots of buzz and lots of fruitful connections. It was lovely to see new and familiar faces and we think everyone felt inspired to see the network they were part of.

What people said

Thank you so much for the excellent Disruptive Dinner! Everything about it had purpose and was so well thought out. We especially enjoyed the invitation to pick a table based on the conversation you wanted to have while enjoying the delicious vegan food; the only problem was that all the topics were so interesting and relevant that it was almost impossible to pick one! We found it very beneficial to connect with other organisations doing important work; thank you so much for this opportunity.

Anna from English for Action

It was a great opportunity to meet other organisations funded by Disrupt Foundation and I really enjoyed all of the videos too.

– Indra from Action for Race Equality