What is courage? And how can it help us challenge prejudice?

94 Young people from 17 schools across England and Scotland gathered at our Annual National Youth Conference to explore these important questions. Learning, being creative and working together, they left with new skills and more confidence, feeling empowered to use their voices against prejudice.

The workshops

After getting to know their groups with ice-breakers, the first part of the day took young people through three workshops designed to help them with the day’s task to use their voice, show their courage, and challenge prejudice.


We were excited to have award-winning poet Adam Kammerling join us to help young people create group poems reflecting on what courage really means. More than just a lion or a knight, they explored how courage is being proud of who we are and using our voices to speak up about what we believe in.

"Real courage looks like a person looking into the mirror,
proud of the reflection of achievements.
Sounds like your inner voice telling you “I can do this.”
Courage is not a row of roars
It is a row of people asking for help
A row of people speaking out and
A row of people standing up for their rights"

By Safiyah, Sujani, Gonita, Shagan, Sara and Sharon 


Anne Frank House

Joining us from Amsterdam, we welcomed Mateusz and Marta from the education team at the Anne Frank House for their workshop, ‘an ordinary day’. Young people were asked to think about all the things they do in an ordinary day, going to school, playing sport, visiting friends. They thought about how doing these things gave them purpose, joy and a chance to express themselves. Before thinking about what it would feel like if they couldn’t do these things anymore. This session helped young people to think about the impact of Nazi rule on Jewish people and what it would have been like for Anne Frank.

Tote bag art

Exploring the power of expression through creativity, young people enjoyed a tote bag art session with Li Williams from Street Style Surgery. This session allowed them to create a message of courage that they could carry with them as a symbol of everything they learnt at conference and their commitment to challenging prejudice.

Dr Martin Stern MBE

We were honoured to be joined by Martin Stern MBE who shared his story of surviving the Holocaust. Martin shared how family friends showed courage by taking him in and pretending he was their son for 2 years in Amsterdam, hoping to keep him safe from the Nazis despite the danger they faced if caught helping a Jewish child. Then how everything changed when, at the age of 5, Martin was pulled out of school and transported to Westerbork transit camp and then Theresienstadt. He remembered thinking how the soldiers all looked like ordinary people and the courage of the woman who helped him and his baby sister to survive in the camps, keeping them in the adult dormitory and risking her life to steal food so they wouldn’t starve.

We are very grateful to Martin for sharing his story with us, inspiring young people to be courageous and showing them why it is so important to use their voices to challenge prejudice.

“The conference strengthened our consciousness of just how impactful discrimination is, the true story from Martin Stern and his experiences gave us a reminder of the importance of challenging prejudice and standing up against discrimination.” – Jana, 14, West Calder High

The presentations

Young people ended conference by working in their groups to put together presentations for our panel. They created poems, personal reflections and pieces of drama that fulfilled the day’s task of using their voice, showing their courage, and challenging prejudice. Taking on the challenge, they confidently shared their work in front Martin Stern, Ronald Leopold (Anne Frank House) and Jane Tanner (Paul Hamlyn Foundation), as well as their peers and teachers.

We were so impressed with all the work, passion and dedication young people showed throughout our Youth Conference. Their commitment to courage and using their voices to challenge prejudice was clear and we can’t wait to see what they do next!


We give our warmest thanks to the Department of Education, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the Bloom Foundation for sponsoring our National Youth Conference.