Brighton students reconnect at catch up and inspire conference

Brighton catch up and inspire150 Year Ten students from eight local secondary schools1 took part in an inspirational Catch Up and Inspire one day conference at the American Express Community Stadium this week (Tuesday 2 May) as part of the ground-breaking Be the Change programme. 

The Catch Up and Inspire conference, facilitated by former teacher Graham Moore, and delivered by the Be the Change Team, gave students and local business mentors who took part in the initiative last year, the chance to reconnect and discuss progress made. Mentors participated from University of Sussex, Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton and Hove PR and

Over the course of the day, areas covered included:  

  • ‘What is it like to be a teenager in 2017?’ -  a review of the challenges holding them back
  • No ‘i’ in ‘Team’- small group activities, honing creativity, working to deadlines and presentation skills 
  • Creating a ‘roadmap’ to success – sharing their future hopes and aspirations  

Launched last year, Be the Change is a collaboration between and Graham Moore of social business humanutopia. The programme focuses on raising the confidence, aspirations and job prospects of 13 and 14 year olds.  Throughout the 2016 school year, students participated in five days of activities and a workplace visit, designed to change negative behaviour, improve happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability. The Sussex Learning Network are supporting this Be the Change activity with National Collaborative Outreach Programme funding. 

Sarah Williams, Director of Sussex Learning Network, said: “Be the Change is a really innovative way to inspire and support disengaged or disadvantaged young people. We are proud to be supporting an initiative that encourages young people from across Sussex to be the best they can be and to make the most of future opportunities.” 

Rosanna Farrar, Be the Change Project Director and Head of Community Engagement at said: “Catching up with the students gave them a chance to renew their motivations to make positive changes in life. Their honesty and courage was once again really powerful to see and we believe they are now even clearer about what they want to achieve in the future.” 

One of the business mentors, Maunie Catcheside, Brighton and Hove PR Founder and Director said: “This is a truly inspirational programme. If only all students of this age could have the opportunity to participate in Be the Change. It was hugely worthwhile for them to come back together and reflect on how they have changed, in outlook and confidence over the course of a year. Well done to all involved.”


1 The schools participating at the Catch Up and Inspire Conference were: 
•    Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA)
•    Blatchington Mill, Hove
•    Dorothy Stringer, Brighton
•    Hove Park School
•    Longhill, High School, Brighton
•    Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA)
•    Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Lancing, West Sussex
•    Bourne Community College, West Sussex

Photo Captions:  

BACA Students taking part in group activities 

About Be the Change
Gary Peters, MD of and Graham Moore (humanutopia) are co-founders of ‘Be the Change. The Sussex Learning Network are supporting this Be the Change activity with National Collaborative Outreach Programme funding. Sessions are facilitated by Graham Moore and delivered by the Be the Change team, university representatives and business mentor volunteers. It is a ground breaking, inspirational programme of events aimed at students who may face challenges and difficulties in school or with school life. The activities focus on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability and encourage students to identify their personal barriers to success, before helping them find ways of overcoming them. Be the Change helps open student’s eyes to the world of work and wealth of the educational possibilities and career opportunities in their hometown and beyond. Be the Change acts as a springboard for young people, helping them realise their full potential and providing them with the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to aim high and work towards successful careers. 

About the Sussex Learning network 
The Sussex Learning Network is a strategic partnership of universities, colleges, training providers and guidance agencies focussed on ensuring the lifecycle for learners in the South East is accessible and transparent. We provide opportunities for those who support the whole learner journey to enable successful progression through education and on into the workplace. Our work brings together new research, curriculum development, CPD, outreach activities and careers education, information, advice and guidance. 

The National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) is a national multi-million pound scheme funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which aims to increase the number of disadvantaged young people entering higher level learning. The Sussex Learning Network is one of 29 consortia delivering NCOP with funding until 2020 to provide targeted support to learners in areas where participation in higher education is lower than expected.  

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