Two students from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy were amongst a group from Aldridge Academies across England to have taken part in a transformational leadership programme with young people from across the globe who want to make positive social change.
Caitlin Briggs and Harry Eastham joined colleagues from Brighton and Portland Academies to spend 10 days taking part in the Future Foundation’s prestigious Global Social Leader’s programme at Wellington College, near London. They received intensive leadership training and listened to inspiring talks from social entrepreneurs and business leaders at the forefront of social change.
The students worked with 100 others aged 16 to 18 from 10 countries including Kenya, Jordan, Russia and China.
Both students say the experience was invaluable.
Harry, who lives in Hoddlesden, said: “I am really grateful for GSL and the experience it has given me. I met some extraordinary young people who are doing amazing things in their communities and made many lifelong friendships. What I really enjoyed was everyone putting aside any social, cultural or language barriers and just getting on with working and living alongside each other.”
“Hearing about the incredible things young people my age are doing in their countries has really inspired me to develop my own social change project in Darwen for something I care deeply about.
Harry, who has established his own design business called Onyx Media, plans to go to a prestigious art school to study graphic design.
Caitlin, who lives in Hawkshaw, hopes to study law at Cambridge University. She said: “I was amazed how people I did not know on the first day could end up becoming so important. I loved the fact that everything was celebrated and I was genuinely inspired by so many young people my age planning ambitious social action projects. It made me realise that if they can do it then so can I, and so can everyone.”
“It also taught me to be bold, don’t be afraid to think big ideas, seize every opportunity to make the world a better place and take risks.”
Foundation CEO Honor Wilson-Fletcher, who attended the final dinner of the Global Social Leaders Programme at Wellington College said: “Our students have excelled. They want to create a Global Social Leaders network across our academies, and they want to change the world. The energy, cheering, shared spirit, celebration and excitement in the room was extraordinary. I asked them a bit about what they have learned and one said something that really stuck with me – that for the first time he understood that you can trust other people – and that you need to be open and honest yourself, too – that you have to be, if you are going to be a great leader.”
With thanks to the Lancashire Telegraph