IRA victims, gay ref and Syriza citybound

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Ann Travers and Jo Berry, both bereaved by the IRA, will join convicted Brighton bomber Patrick Magee at a summer school in Londonderry next week to talk about how we deal with the past.

Gay rugby referee Nigel Owens will also be among the speakers at the XChange Summer School, which takes place at Magee over June 11 and 12.

Paul Kane, from XChange explained: “So often you go to these sorts of events and come back inspired, yet nothing seems to change and we all go back to whatever we were doing before. That’s why we came up with a very different approach.

“We want delegates not just to be inspired by our speakers who are going to change the conversation on key policy issues, centring around four main themes: action, bravery, change and diversity, but to go on and take action as a result.”

Organisers of the unique summer school are so determined that it will not become yet another talking shop that they are putting their money where their mouths are.

They are offering three funding pots of up to £10,000 each to make sure that great ideas that emerge from the school get transformed into reality.

Speakers at the summer school include: Nigel Owens, the international rugby referee who will speak about the challenge of coming out in a macho sport; Professor June Andrews, the world authority on dementia will talk about taking on vested interests in government and the medical profession;

Robert Egger, the visionary American Third Sector leader and founder of L.A. Kitchens will join us from California via Skype to talk about how he has responded to recession and cuts; Marina Prentoulis, a member of Greece’s Syriza party, will argue that austerity is not the way to cure our economic ills; Ann Travers and Jo Berry, both bereaved by the IRA will be joined by Patrick Magee, convicted of the Brighton bomb in which Jo’s father lost his life for a conversation about how we deal with the past.

During the event delegates will get plenty of time to digest, discuss and develop ideas that stem from the talks.

And after lunch on the Friday there will be an additional session where delegates who have thought up potential projects as a direct result of their experience will have the chance to find out further information on how to apply for funding.

The funding has been provided by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Henry Smith Charity which have a shared commitment to promoting change.

Further information on the summer school and the funding opportunities is available from the event’s website at