The Social Design Getaway is a 2 days residential retreat set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. We are inviting people working in the social sector to connect and learn from each other, and return home with new ways of staying energised to do high impact work. 


What is this about?

A retreat to connect and recharge 

Social design is about designing for social good. It’s also about designing socially. Because we can achieve way more together than we could ever achieve on our own. But how can we build and lead movements around a cause or an idea we deeply care about?

We believe that, more than quick win solutions and fuzzy processes, good storytelling and deep listening are key. And so is looking after yourself.

Social design can sometimes be a lonely and tiring business. We’ve worked as designers with charities and the public sector for a few years, and we’ve seen great people who really give a crap sacrifice their wellbeing in order to make change happen. We’ve been there and learned that you can’t pour from an empty cup. We have learned some valuable tools and practices for doing the work we love while keeping the cup full.

The retreat will offer time and space to reflect, recharge and build confidence through:


storytelling listening

care community

Is it for me?

The Social Design Getaway is open to anyone working in the social sector, wanting to find new ways of deliver social impact and looking for a reflective and inspiring break. 

You can expect:
Support with personal and professional challenges related to social design. New friends and allies. A community and peer group. Inspiration and motivation. New tools and practices. A mind spa.




How do I get involved?


Dates for the next retreat are subject to interest. If you want to join us for the next getaway as an individual or as a group, please register your below and we will get back to you with more details.

Check out our Instagram at the bottom of this page to see what we got up to on the Autumn retreat.

What’s the cost?

The cost of the retreat includes food and accommodation.
We have a few different costing options:

Large organisations
(NGOs, corporate, central government)

Small organisations
(local charities, small social enterprises)

Freelancers and individuals

What does it cover?


We know that for some people the cost can be prohibitive. If you cannot afford the full fee, please get in touch and tell us what you could offer (such as skills or time) in exchange of a reduced ticket. In addition, if you need help to ask your organisation to cover the costs, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Register your interest

To make sure we design the best experience possible, we also want to hear what you would hope to get out of it. Fill the form below to tell us a bit about who you are and what you are looking for.

I’m up for this!

Gift this retreat

You might not be up for it yourself, but you may know someone who is flat out trying to make the world better. You can gift this retreat to someone who deserves it by filling the form below:

Make a gift!



Who is behind this?

The Social Design Getaway is organised by Rebecca Birch and Fan Sissoko, two independent social designers who want to share their passion with equally passionate people.



Fan Sissoko

I am an independent social designer and a worrier. I have more than 7 years of experience conducting and leading social innovation, service design and research projects, mainly for the public sector around mental health, social care and community wellbeing.

My work tends to be driven by empathy and I strongly believe in the power of storytelling to drive change. I also produce a podcast about hope and activism called the Hope Rising.



Rebecca Birch

I am an independent social designer, qualitative researcher and coach with a background in innovation consulting, youth and community work and ethnographic research.

I am interested in all things that help people to listen and be listened to. I draw on this interest plus a combination of social science and design-led approaches to solve complex user related, business and organisational challenges. I have worked on issues ranging from access and equality, mental health and wellbeing, early years/parenting, education, housing and worklessness.

Recently I’ve been working on a smart cities project called Colour in City which looks at how we can put personal data back into people’s own hands.