Plan for Peace - Changemakers in Turbulent Times 2023 - Group Picture

Changemakers in Turbulent Times

Since launching in 2023, over 100 participants have completed the programme across Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast, Newham in London, Slough, and Bradford. In addition, we are supporting 46 social change projects across the UK.

Click the video below to see how our programme has had an impact in its inaugural year.

“This programme deepens the social fabric of communities across the UK. The networks formed locally and nationally will act as catalysts for strengthening communities.”

Belong – The Cohesion & Integration Network
Evaluation & Learning Partner

Our Previous Guest Speakers

Selina HalesSelina Hales
Scottish mum-turned-activist and founder of a unique refugee organisation

John Paul LederachJohn Paul Lederach
One of the world’s best-known conflict transformation experts

Mark Prince OBEMark Prince OBE
Inspirational speaker, former professional boxer and award-winning charity campaigner

Dr Scilla ElworthyDr. Scilla Elworthy
Founder of Plan for Peace and three-times Noble peace prize nominee

Rob DeeksRob Deeks
A passionate believer in youth-led change and community organizer in Slough

Aina J. Khan
Writer and journalist for The New York Times, NBC News, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera English

Ryad KhodabocusRyad Khodabocus
Heart-centred leadership and interfaith champion

Jo BerryJo Berry
Acclaimed public speaker who demonstrates the power of listening and empathy in her life-changing work

Lee Lawrence - Plan for Peace Guest SpeakerLee Lawrence
Award-winning author, speaker, social entrepreneur, and restorative justice advocate

How our programme makes a difference:

CATALYSE INNOVATION

We’re investing in the people who have the skills, capacity and authority to build and sustain social cohesion.

Develop Community - Plan for Peace

DEVELOP LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Through our network, we are able to actively engage with local communities and address their specific needs.

CONNECT A UK-WIDE NETWORK

We help bring creative solutions to social issues by connecting changemakers to each other and various opportunities.

Plan for Peace - Long-Term Impact

CREATE LONG-TERM IMPACT

By supporting social projects at their inception, we create a lasting impact on communities through sustainable initiatives.

What participants can expect:

Through six online and four in-person sessions, participants are guided through our 10-week programme alongside inspiring well-known changemakers who have overcome their own challenges to change lives.

Participants are assisted by a highly motivated team of local Community Connectors and Facilitators who lead sessions in their town or city.

Everybody who takes part in this course can apply for a seed grant of up to £2,000 to deliver their own local initiative.

“Changemakers In Turbulent Times is designed very specifically for this moment, when we’re all being asked to respond to the challenges of our times in creative ways. We aim to resource participants, to help them build new connections and to midwife the birth of exciting new projects into the world.”

Jo Berry
Acclaimed speaker and Head of Peacebuilding

Jo Berry

Our Impact in 2023:

Plan for Peace - Cross-Sector Connections

Cross-Sector Connections increased by 71%

with connections built in and between communities.

Plan for Peace - Collective Action

85% boost in empowering collective action

with 74% of participants feeling more motivated to catalyse change.

492% increase in confidence to take action

with 71% of participants feeling confident in managing challenges.

Plan for Peace - Take Action

83% feel able to take a stand on important issues

showing an increase of 41% since the beginning of the programme.

Plan for Peace - Mental Health

Overwhelm levels decreased by 84%

leaving only 7% of participants feeling ‘very’ overwhelmed.

Plan for Peace - Community Cohesion

Community building increased by 125%

with 69% of participants feeling part of a community by the end.

Plan for Peace - Community

Community connections increased by 60%

frequently connecting 1/3 of participants across communities.

Changemakers in Turbulent Times is innovative

From longtime social activists to young graduates who are only just setting out, from new migrants to established minority communities – our programme is cross-generational, diverse, and expansive in its reach

With our UK-wide reach, you too can demonstrate your commitment to community empowerment at a time of hardship and challenges. Will you join us in creating long-lasting change across the UK?

Plan for Peace - Changemakers in Turbulent Times - Testimonial

“For me, this is the model of how it should be done in terms of going forward. They’ve got it exactly right in terms of approach, content, how you bring people who work in the community together as one – and that’s what they have done. It felt as if it was one. A real collective of people who want to bring about real change and be well.” 

2023 Changemakers in Turbulent Times participant

Paul Doherty

Founder of

Foodstock

Tirza Meinema

Co-founder of

Slough Anti-Litter Society

Shoba Resalayyan

Project Manager of

The Slough Hub

Download our Changemakers in Turbulent Times 2023 Briefing Paper

Receive our paper, Responding to Overwhelm: Building a cross-sector infrastructure for community cohesion in the UK, by clicking the button below.

2024 Programme Dates:

Watch this space for more on our 2024 course dates! Please sign up for our newsletter below to be notified about our late spring announcement.

John Paul Lederach

John Paul Lederach is a living legend in the field of conflict transformation and peacebuilding, working with and championing the power of the grassroots to bring about lasting change. He has won many prestigious awards, including the Martin Luther King Order of Peace Medal in 2006.

He is Senior Fellow at Humanity United and Professor Emeritus of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame. He works extensively in conciliation processes, active in Latin America, Africa, Southeast and Central Asia. He is widely known for the development of culturally appropriate approaches to conflict transformation and the design and implementation of integrative and strategic approaches to peacebuilding. He served as the director of the Peace Accord Matrix research initiative at the Kroc Institute and currently a member of the Advisory Council for the Truth Commission in Colombia. He is a widely published author and editor of 24 books and manuals, including Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies and The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace.

Rob Deeks

Rob Deeks is a renowned social cohesion expert in the UK and CEO at Aik-Saath- Together as One, the multiple award-winning young people’s charity based in Slough that is widely credited with having ended bitter intercommunal violence in the area. For 20 years, Rob has supported young people to move their ideas and aspirations forward, leading to his involvement in diverse spheres of work, including race, identity, conflict resolution, specialist services for young carers and young people from various backgrounds, and the arts and heritage.

Under his leadership, Aik-Saath- Together as One has won numerous awards, including The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2006 and The Guardian Charity of the Year in 2009. Rob is a prominent local figure in community events and has spoken in Parliament on issues such as the value of multiculturalism and what deprived urban areas need from central government to support their young people.

Mark Prince OBE

Dr Mark Prince is a much-loved inspirational speaker and former professional boxer turned award-winning charity campaigner. All too familiar with overcoming adversity, the once drug-abusing youth became a world-renowned fighter, to later reinvent himself once more as a campaigner after the death of his son by knife crime.

In May 2006, Mark’s son passed away, a teen victim of knife crime. Driven by the desire to prevent knife crime, Mark founded The Kiyan Prince Foundation in 2007, which used his platform and experiences in sport to create positive change. Awarded an OBE for his services to tackling gang crime in London, Mark has solidified the legacy of his late son and influenced a generation. Mark is a qualified personal trainer who continues to work predominantly with youths. Highly regarded for his authority as a speaker on knife crime, he has been the executive producer of Put the Knives and Guns Down and spoken for the Metropolitan Police Operation Trident Program. He has also spoken with Mayor Sadiq Khan on London’s knife crime epidemic and been a guest speaker at the National Governor Prison Association Conference and the National Black Crown Prosecutors Association Conference.

Jo Berry

Jo Berry is an acclaimed global leader, speaker and expert in conflict transformation and empowering positive change. She is the founder of “Bridges for Peace”, a charity dedicated to promoting peace and conflict transformation around the world. Jo advocates that unbounded empathy is the biggest weapon to ending conflict. She has actively been involved in resolving areas of conflict in countries including Lebanon, Rwanda, Ireland, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Myanmar, Australia, Mexico, USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and throughout the UK as well as numerous occasions in Northern Ireland.

Jo’s deep commitment to ending violence comes from personal experience – her father Sir Anthony Berry was killed in the 1984 IRA Brighton bombing. In November 2000 she met Patrick Magee, the former IRA activist responsible for her father’s death, and the pair have since toured the UK together, speaking about their experiences. Jo has participated in documentaries including “Beyond Right and Wrong”, “Soldiers of Peace” and “Facing the Enemy” and has been the topic of two plays; “The Bomb” and “The Bombing of the Grand Hotel”.

Selina Hales

One of Scotland’s best-known activists, Selina Hayles is the founder and CEO of Refuweegee, a community-led charity in Glasgow providing a warm welcome to forcibly displaced persons. Her passion is to create social change through Refuweegee.

Currently, the organization provides personalised aid to meet each individual Ukrainian refugees’ needs. They also have educational workers support the children in schools and prepare teachers to deal with the trauma they’ve experienced. Selina is an all-rounded leader who occasionally holds up the positions of volunteer, trustee, cause founder, project manager, fundraiser, researcher, operational director, business development manager and social entrepreneur. In 2022, she was nominated for the Scottish Influencer of the Year’s Inspiration award.

Ryad Khodabocus

Ryad Khodabocus is an Integrative Health and Wellness consultant, specialised in lifestyle medicine and energy psychology. He is a certified HeartMath® Coach, Trainer and Practitioner. He researched in Emotional Intelligence and holds a master’s degree in Psychology of Health and Management. He created the P.E.A.C.E system for health and wellness inspired by his work in peace and reconciliation.

Ryad heads a non-profit working around peace and reconciliation and community development for the last 15 years. In 2018, he was awarded as one of the 21 leaders for the 21st century as agents of reconciliation in the UK, supported by the Prime Minister’s Office. A multiple award winner, Ryad is popularly known for his spirit of integration, cultural and collective intelligence and has penned over 500 newspaper articles. In 2020, Ryad’s charity won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the only one to win in Luton for the county of Bedfordshire in that year.

Lucia Rijker

Considered by many to be the greatest woman in boxing history, known as “the Dutch Destroyer”, Lucia Rijker was a combat sports prodigy who is today an inspirational speaker for people around the world. Born in Amsterdam in 1967, Rijker trained in judo and fencing before becoming a world class kickboxer. She started her professional boxing career in 1996, knocking out nearly every opponent she faced and winning the Super Lightweight title in 1998. She stepped away from boxing in 1999 to pursue a career in Hollywood and appeared in 2004’s Oscar-winning, female boxer-based film Million Dollar Baby.

In 2019, Rijker became one of the first three women boxers (and the first Dutch woman boxer) elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Today, she is known as an motivational speaker, giving lectures and seminars to athletes and people from all walks of life to perform their best, while still maintaining her top physical form.

Dr Scilla Elworthy

Dr Scilla Elworthy

Dr Scilla Elworthy is a three times Nobel peace prize nominee and visionary whose peacebuilding experience spans many countries and conflicts. She has worked with notable peacemakers such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, advised heads of state in nuclear non-proliferation talks and is a vocal advocate for business as a force for peace.

Aina J. Khan

Aina J. Khan is a British journalist who has worked as a reporter or correspondent for The New York Times, NBC News, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera English. She has reported from the UK, the US, the occupied Palestinian West Bank, and Tanzania.

In 2021, she became the first International Fellow at The New York Times. She is also a writer. In 2019, she was selected to take part in the BBC Writer’s Room, Northern Voices Writers scheme. Her first short play about a British-Pakistani teenager’s love for Michael Jackson’s music and traditional Pashtun dancing, Pashto Thriller, debuted at the Bradford Literature Festival in 2019.

Lee Lawrence

Lee Lawrence is a social entrepreneur who works to help marginalised people find their voice, manage conflict and achieve justice. In 2014, he founded Mobility Enterprises with the hope of aiding those who would otherwise struggle in their daily life by providing public transport for the disabled. In 2016, he founded the Cherry Groce Foundation which exists to enhance the wellbeing of disabled people.

At the age of eleven, Lee witnessed his mother Dorothy ‘Cherry’ Groce unlawfully shot by police, sparking the 1985 Brixton uprising, and leaving Cherry with physical injuries and disabilities which eventually lead to her death in 2011.

Since then Lee has dedicated his time to pursuing justice through his work as an inspirational speaker, restorative justice ambassador, and social change advocate, and sharing his story in his award-winning book ‘The Louder I will Sing’. Working with organisations, institutions, educational establishments, and communities.

Belong

Belong is a UK-based charity aiming to create a more integrated, less divided society and strengthen good relations across differences. They offer academic research, consultancy, training, networking, thought leadership and events on social cohesion for members across the public, private and charitable sectors in the UK. Belong is supporting Plan for Peace as our Evaluation and Learning Partner for the pilot phase of our UK programme, Connecting Communities, in 2023.