Hope brings us together

Alongside our work with churches, we supported inter-faith collaboration through our Near Neighbours partners

In March 2022, Sumayya, Swahiba, Marium and Mithila took part in our Catalyst young leaders programme.

Catalyst is a transformative leadership programme aimed at developing creative leaders to act as positive role models in their communities and become future changemakers.

The series of dynamic, interactive sessions engage a highly diverse group of young people, many of whom have not previously participated in a leadership development programme.

During Catalyst, young people are tasked with developing an idea for a social action project that can affect change in their local community. With support from our East London Near Neighbours Coordinator, Marzena Cichon-Balcerowicz, and Assistant Headteacher Saiqua Zaneb, the group were awarded a Near Neighbours small grant to develop their idea for the Breaking the Barrier podcast series exploring culture and diversity.


Developed and led by young people, the podcast explores themes of diversity, identity, leadership, mental health and women’s empowerment. In addition, the group plan to partner with other schools to share experiences and ideas about leadership and empowering young people. The Breaking the Barrier podcast was launched in March 2022.

The group are applying for university and have drawn on their Catalyst experience in applications, including the small grants process.

"The tendency to hide parts of yourself in different settings was something I could relate to in my own experience. The Catalyst conversation around identity helped me realise how important is it to embrace every aspect of yourself as all these things make you an individual." Mithila

"We discussed how barriers can be on a micro scale, a macro scale and the relationship between the two. Minorities can influence majorities through breaking barriers, exceeding expectations and pushing social conventions.”
Sumayya and Mithila

These programmes allowed students to understand their own identity and what they bring to the table through working on projects that would result in impactful change.

Saiqua Zaneb, Assistant Head Teacher

More stories of hope