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On Saturday 25th March 2017, 20 young people came together to send out a powerful message that those seeking to create disharmony in the UK will not succeed.

The young people from Leicester and Luton were part of Catalyst, a dynamic and interactive leadership and life skills programme. The group gave their support to the social media effort #WeStandTogether which was set up in the aftermath of the London terrorist attacks. The group united for an Army themed alumni day which was spent honing their decision-making and leadership skills courtesy of 158 Regiment – The Royal Logistic Corps.

Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre said, “These young adults have collectively condemned terrorism to send out a potent voice to their peers, that division and discord must not be tolerated. Their involvement in Catalyst, which has social integration at its heart, has enabled them to come into contact with and value every community which makes up the mosaic of the UK. Their support for #WeStandTogether amplifies their appreciation of the values of respect, acceptance and liberty which are the cornerstones of our democracy”.

Catalyst focuses on themes including leadership, decision-making, interfaith, communication, community, citizenship and teamwork. It is delivered by St Philip’s Centre and is funded by Near Neighbours via the Department for Communities & Local Government.

An independent evaluation of Catalyst by Coventry University showed that 91% of alumni felt that coming into contact with people from different faith or non-faith backgrounds was a positive experience and 87% of alumni felt more enabled to take on leadership roles in the community. The programme is accredited by Leicester College.



“This programme has bePicture1en specifically developed to widen the skills base of young people. Career progression requires academic qualifications but also wider competences including leadership, judgement and communication.”

Catalyst is a dynamic and interactive young leaders programme which aims to build the confidence of and make real, the potential of young people so that they can change their communities for the better. Catalyst involves a range of activities and learning opportunities which are based on themes such as: Networking, Leadership, Inter Faith and Communication & Community.

Catalyst web There are 3 levels to Catalyst; Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Young people work through the different levels to learn new skills and develop their potential.

“I’ve improved my skills and learned not to judge other people. The course has made me more confident engaging with people from other backgrounds and cultures”student at Leicester College

Training takes place in high profile and legendary venues like Leicester Tigers’ Rugby Football Ground, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Launde Abbey. Each session involves a range of learning and communication styles, designed to meet the needs of young people from a wide range of backgrounds. Catalyst allows young people to explore controversial and sensitive issues in an open, friendly and supportive environment. In short, it hones their leadership skills.


If you want to know what it’s like to go on a Catalyst course – read the testimonials below:

Catalyst leadership really helped develop my leadership, communication and judgement skills that are so vital in life. Through catalyst, I gained more confidence in speaking in front of classes and giving presentations which is something I have already had to do at college and will continue to do throughout the year and university. After catalyst, I have become wiser to interfaith. The activities and situations that we were exposed to during catalyst has helped me a lot when setting up the college Hindu Society this year. Our society has a handful of members and we intend to grow throughout the year to give other students the chance to meet new people and make new friends. The skills that were gained catalyst will also help me this year to act as a mathematics mentor for the college to help students in the year below. I have also found that attending Catalyst has given me something great to write on my personal statement because the skills that the course has developed are skills that all universities want to see that their candidates have, particularly for me as an aspiring engineer.

Dillon Lad

Catalyst was unforgettably rewarding, with the opportunity to meet people of different faiths and share viewpoints which challenge many stereotypical ideas in today’s society as well as giving me the chance to develop my communication and leadership skills.

But how has this helped me today?

Firstly, the session focusing upon interview skills and forms of communication has undoubtedly helped me to be accepted as a volunteer at a local charity as well as to perform a reading at the High Sherriff of Leicestershire’s Justice Service. Learning how to communicate with people of different ages and in different situations has further enabled me to gain a job as a tutor for young children. After spending some time reflecting upon how we as individuals can make a difference to today’s world I completed a Skydive for Save the Children raising £1,138.75. I have also recently become a member of the NHS and often attend their lectures which involve first aid training; this is not only for my own benefit but for anyone within the community who may be under harm. Furthermore, as a member of the Student Executive in my college I have learnt a great deal of skills that have helped me to contribute towards my role. Not only have I developed many fundamental skills needed throughout life which are particularly recognised by universities, I have also expanded my personal values which I feel is the most important attribute I have gained.

Aamena Makda

Catalyst was an enjoyable experience with interesting guests and topics. By doing Catalyst, I have managed to secure a place on the course I wanted to get onto (Level 3 Uniformed Public Services).  I have recently decided to become a member of my church, and from the Catalyst programme, I found out about all the other religions operating in the world and how they are different to the one I follow. Furthermore, Catalyst has helped me develop skills I may need to get into my dream job as a detective in the CID.  For example, I learned teamwork skills, public speaking, interview techniques and more Lastly, from doing Catalyst, I have effectively planned and run an ADHD awareness stall which gave student information about how ADHD affects people.   I would recommend Catalyst to anyone who wants to do it.

James Carver

The catalyst programme has on the whole helped me grow as an individual,  socially as well as intellectually.  I was an ordinary, timid girl but the training programme has made me a more confident person on the whole.  I am very grateful to have been a part of this programme and I would definitely recommend it to my fellow citizens. The skills that I have acquired from training have helped me get a job at a tutoring company – ‘First Class Learning’ – as I was able to perform the employability skill and interpersonal skills which were further enhanced during training.  We were also taught how to give effective presentations whether this be in an education setting, for example, school/college or in the work place.  This practice has helped me produce successful presentations in class performing to the best of my ability, using the correct tone and the linguistic devices used in speech to help me obtain a gold in my presentations.

Bhavini Jivan 


Catalyst Zaman’s Journey with Near Neighbours


For more information on Catalyst for your organisation or group contact:

Gail Kenney, Programmes Officer


Riaz Ravat BEM, Interim Director of St Philip’s Centre


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