Young People Lead Change In Cardiff

Young People Lead Change In Cardiff

July 2, 2018


Young people from across Cardiff were welcomed by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and Leader of Cardiff Council, Councillor Huw Thomas as well as other senior figures at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff in June to celebrate their graduation from the prestigious UpRising Leadership Programme.


First Minister Carwyn Jones, who delivered the keynote speech, said


“I am delighted to address this brilliant group of inspiring young people who are taking responsibility for their own future and using the UpRising programme to unlock the door to their full potential. Now is the time to push that door open, walk through it, and make your mark. Huge congratulations on your achievements so far. Don’t give up, keep striving and don’t be afraid of making mistakes – this is how you learn and, ultimately, achieve.” 


Since 2008, UpRising's mission has been to open up pathways to power to young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. UpRising's Co-Founder and Chair, Rushanara Ali MP, reflects back on the last decade:  


"UpRising was established to identify and support a new generation of talented young adults from diverse backgrounds to gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to take up leadership positions in major institutions across politics, business, the public and voluntary sectors. Thousands of young people go through our programmes, and this year we celebrate our 10th Anniversary. I’m incredibly proud of the achievements of UpRising Cymru and congratulate 2018 graduates.”


UpRising has been operating in Cardiff since 2015. Many of the young graduates have progressed into employment, education, created social enterprises, charities and joined trustee boards amongst many other successful pathways.


In Cardiff, UpRising's flagship nine-month leadership programme has seen the group come face-to-face with some of region’s leading figureheads, including:

  • Sheila Hendrickson-Brown, Cardiff Third Sector Council
  • Caro Wild, CC Councillor
  • Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies
  • Sharon Hopkins, Director of Public Health
  • Cynthia Ogbonna, Managing Director, Cardiff Bus
  • Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director BBC Cymru Wales
  • Paul Rowland, Editor, WalesOnline, Editor-in-chief, Media Wales
  • Julie Morgan AM
  • Kirsty Williams, AM
  • Uzo Uwobi, CEO Race Council Cymru
  • Leaders from WRAP, Creative Cardiff, Shelter Cymru, Principality Building Society, FOR Cardiff, NESTA, National Theatre Wales and many more from across the business and charity sectors.


Young people on our Leadership Programme also took a trip to Parliament to speak directly to the country's key decision makers.

Ayesha Freedman-Dawkins, 22, a single mum from Grangetown said


“UpRising has been an amazing opportunity that I have been luckily able to do. I am a stay at home Mum who is in a dilemma where I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Having UpRising at this point in my life has made me feel human again! I have learnt so much and connected with people I would have never dreamt about meeting. UpRising has taught me so many values and really opened my eyes”.


The graduation event also celebrated the work that the young leaders had done to affect positive change in their communities.

As part of the Leadership Programme, the young people conceive and deliver social action campaigns on issues that they feel strongly about.


Tajkea Chowdury 23 from Cardiff, delivered REACH, along with four other young leaders. This campaign aimed to provide a safe platform that informs and supports those affected by assault, harassment or sexual violence by signposting the wide range of support networks established within the UK and Cardiff. The campaign included creating a safe and supportive environment during a series of events, particularly focussing on supporting women who have been impacted by assault, suffer from PTSD and those from a refugee background. The events included craft sessions, yoga classes and a music event featuring an all female line up. They also created a manifesto for elected officials regarding better support developments for women in Cardiff.


Tajkea credits the programme by offering her with some life-changing moments,

“Taking part in UpRising has been an amazing experience. I have been able to contact with so many people throughout Cardiff who I would never have met otherwise. Our social action campaign is one I’ve been thinking about for many years but never had the knowledge or confidence to carry out on my own. UpRising gave me that opportunity and I’m so grateful about the things I’ve been able to achieve because of it.”


The young leaders will continue to receive support from UpRising as they progress into the UpRising Emerging Leaders Network, which consists of more than 3,300 programme graduates across the UK.

UpRising’s Chief Executive, Lucy Caldicott, said of the newly graduated Cardiff UpRisers,

"It is always inspiring to see such a diversity of young, inspiring people working together to create change. I can't wait to see what they go on to do next."  


The UpRising Leadership Programme in Cardiff is funded by BBC Cymru Wales, Cardiff Council, Cardiff University, University of South Wales and Welsh Government.

The next Leadership Programme in Cardiff begins in October 2018, alongside the new to Cardiff, Environmental Leadership Programme.  

Applications are now open via


Cardiff UpRisers celebrate their graduation!