This was an inter-generational conversation about where faith might fit into how we view leadership. It was set up as an informal event where students could have conversations with a number of invited guests with different leadership experiences who acted as discussion facilitators.

We almost cancelled the event as not only was there a train strike that day but also a lecturer’s strike! In the end we decided to carry on and it turned out to be an inspiring event for students and invited guests alike.


By Iesha Heads, student at Leeds Trinity University

The inter-generational leadership training event was an inspiring opportunity for us as students, to learn from the past and pave the way for future generations. The event occurred at Leeds Trinity University, in partnership with the social justice group SPARK and focused on social justice issues such as racial injustice, climate change, education from a wise couple and a former member of parliament who read a lovely story to us. The speakers helped us as students gain a better understanding of how values, faith, wisdom, and leadership can help to positively shape our engagement in the workplace and in the future.

The inter-generational conversations empowered us, by discussing change and the speakers talked to us about their own experiences within leadership, which helped us to develop so that we can become leaders of the future. The event provided us with hope for a better future for everyone, as the stories told by the leadership guest speakers inspired us to set a vision for the future. 

By learning what leadership was like from older generations, we gained a better understanding of the changes we can make today. It was great to have the opportunity to listen to like-minded people, also to connect with them was really empowering and valuable. There was a lot of hard work that went into putting the event together, which we are thankful for.

The leadership event helped me to critically think about what changes I would like to see in the world, by providing all of us with key messages about the core values of a leader, how leaders can learn and grow from other leaders and how people lead in different ways.

As I embark on a new leadership journey, one of my main goals is to contribute towards finding solutions to destitution and poverty. I believe that by actively listening to the local community, this can be a crucial key to achieving this, which is why I plan to create an event alongside SPARK, to gain the views of residents on destitution and what we can do as individuals to put an end to poverty, through social action projects. My aim is to help make changes that leave a lasting impact in the community, working towards one of the UN’s main Global Goals, the “No Poverty” approach that can be sustainable for generations to come. 

Photos from the event

Kathy Shaw, the SPARK Project manager, commented:

“We had some challenges to overcome in the planning of the event that were outside our control, but the feedback from everyone attending was outstanding. Kathy went on to say:

The success of the event was down to the skills and experience of all the guest facilitators (who were a mixture of ages). They were very generous with their time and expertise. This format came from an idea formulated by Ann Marie Mealey (Director of Catholic Mission at the university) and Teresa Jackson (from St.Walburga’s church community in Shipley), who came up with the idea for an Inter-generational Lunch. Without exception the students and attendees found the event inspiring and motivational. We were grateful that Tom Allan managed to make it.


By Tom Allen, Member of the SPARK Steering Group & student at Sheffield University

I was lucky enough to attend the ‘Empower, Lead, Change’ event at Leeds Trinity last month as a facilitator. As a member of the steering group for the project since it began, I have been overjoyed by the response that came from the event.

It was great to meet so many new and some familiar faces and be able to discuss some of the key issues that young people are facing. The afternoon, led by Ann-Marie provoked thoughtful and deep conversations between young people and facilitators. I was particularly empowered by the results of the artwork produced by Bronagh Daly which depicted the conversations which were had amongst the group.

I’m excited for the future of SPARK social justice, especially with Kathy at the helm and being joined by so many inspired young people as a result of this event. I’m eager to see what comes next as a result of this event.”


 At the event, Ifat read out a poem she had written(with a little encouragement) and we are delighted to be able to publish it here.


By Ifat Saghir, Leeds Trinity University

The boldest colour to exist.

A shade so bright and strong,

Full of potential and power.

Its strength flowing through the human heart,

Pumping potent shades of blood to keep you whole and alive.


But to what extent?

The very same crimson,

Snatched away from you.

Blood pouring out endlessly.


So much control,

Yet no sense of control.

A colour to keep you alive,

But also a colour to take your life.