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“The ocean is like God and raindrops are the religion. When they fall into the ocean they become one.”
Zoya Ahmed and Nurun Uddin

Newbigin School for Urban Leadership

Urban Change Makers Programme

Urban Change Makers is a new emerging leaders program that focuses on working class leadership development from within urban priority areas. UCM is initiated by Newbigin School for Urban Leadership and Worth Unlimited in conjunction with local hubs who nominate and send small teams of emerging leaders to the 10 month program that includes 3 week-end residentials, coaching, best practice site visits, an investors panel and a graduation/induction.
Urban Change Makers especially focuses on those who are:
Urban (ie from urban priority neighbourhoods)

Emerging (ie, aged between 18-35 with high potential to make a difference)

Diverse (ie, not from mainstream, establishment backgrounds, paying attention to class, race and gender access and equity challenges)

Raw Talents (ie, have catalytic potential that traditional education systems will probably not bring out their best)

From 30 years of urban ministry experience (Australia, Thailand and the UK), as well as extensive workshops and interviews with experienced urban Christian leaders, Dr Ash Barker identified three ‘qualities of leadership’ (compassion, innovation, resilience) and three ‘strands of leadership practice’ (community organising, building and enterprise) and designed the programme around these.




A successful pilot program with 9 participants from 3 hubs (Winson Green, East Ham and Royal Docks) was completed in 2017-18 with all participants growing and instigating new projects in their community. In May 2018 Dr Tony Campolo and Shane Claibourne helped promote the program and recruitment of hubs and nominees in a UK tour ready for the second cohort starting in September 2018. Help from Newbigin Community Trust, Fellowship of Churches of Christ, Citizens UK, The Feast, Oasis, Community of Aiden and Hilda are important for this programme.

Hubs and participants will come from diverse churches and urban ministries around the UK (eg, Eden, Oasis, FCC, CofE, CMS, Baptists). Internationally UCM works through networks with Micah Global and the Urban Shalom Society and hopes for future UCM programmes in other countries including Thailand, Germany, USA and Australia. 

By investing in emerging leaders though Urban Change Makers we will be working ‘up stream’ with young adults in urban priority areas and helping them find their own solutions. Unleashing the assets, gifts and imaginations of these Christian young people will help these leaders solve their own community challenges in ways that are sustainable and relevant.
Investing in such leaders is especially strategic in a rapidly dividing, shifting and urbanising world. Who better to see real change from the ground up over the next few decades than these emerging leaders? Further, if their potentials are not channeled in positive ways, then serious tragedies could result for the planet, society and church.
Our first residential for our next cohort is on the 5th - 7th October 2018 with 15 Urban Change Makers this year with hubs from East London, Luton, Birmingham and Scunthorpe. Look out for Urban Change Makers interviewed on BBC’s Songs of Praise with Gogglebox Vicar Kate Bottley on 14th October, 2018.

For more information, please visit the website at  or contact Lianne at