Introduction from Ben Kernighan, Chief Executive
The past twelve months have had a profound and lasting impact on young people, in particular those already facing disadvantages. However, 2020 was also a year of innovation, opportunity and connection, creating new spaces for partnership and highlighting the huge and previously unharnessed potential of digital working.
We have been working hard to increase our 1:1 support and provide digital solutions, responding to the needs of young people and the adults who support them. We will continue to build on both of these approaches in the post-Covid era. But young people are also telling us how much they are looking forward to returning to face to face delivery, re-engaging with other young people in the room. Our in-person training will return as soon as it is safe to do so, strengthened by new partnerships and continued innovation.
We have been listening to young people talk about their hopes for the future. What is so striking is their ambition, entrepeneurial spirit, and desire to support the communities around them.
For young people to thrive in the challenging years ahead, government, companies, philanthropists and our fellow partner charities have a responsibility to harness the talent and potential of all young people. Leap will play its part, seeking to expand our existing programmes and to find new and creative approaches to support young people.
Impact of covid-19
on young people
2020 brought devastating job losses, increasing loneliness and mental health issues, growing levels of abuse and neglect and extended loss of education for young people. Young people who were already struggling prior to the pandemic now also have to grapple with the loss of hope for their future. When they lose their jobs or can’t find work, many will struggle to see where they fit into society.
With fewer opportunities, young people are left feeling excluded, isolated, and left to navigate for themselves in an increasingly challenging and hostile environment. All of these challenges put huge pressure on young people’s relationships, resulting in increased conflict in their lives. In response, we have transformed the way we work to best support young people during this time.
adapting to digital
Throughout 2020, our team were innovating behind the scenes to embrace digital solutions, determined to find new ways of remotely supporting young people and adult professionals.
As part of Under Our Roof, our programme supporting young people in care and their carers, we are now developing a blended model of delivery.
Spotlight: Evie - Coproduction Group Member and Podcast Host
Evie brings a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and empathy to all that she does. Her expertise is grounded in her own experiences growing up in the care system.
To us, co-production means working together with the people we are supporting in order to achieve our objectives at every level of the organisation. Co-production is crucial in the work that we do to support young people, ensuring that their voices, expertise and experiences are brought into programme design and delivery. It is about working in equal and reciprocal partnership, putting lived experience at the heart of our work to ensure that the services we provide are informed by those who truly understand the challenges.
In 2020, we trained all staff and a group of young people in the basics of co-production, its benefits and barriers. By embedding co-production into the fabric of the organisation, we are equipping ourselves with the confidence and tools to deliver better programmes and ultimately achieve greater impact.
In focus: prisoners in lockdown
We have co-produced a brand new resource for men and women spending extended periods in their cells due to Covid-19 restrictions. The 20-page Reflection Pack provides a guided exploration of thoughts and feelings, and will be distributed to over 1,500 men and women in 2021.
We successfully adapted our partner offer for digital delivery, retaining our playful, experiential and relationship-based style. Our wellbeing and conflict de-escalation training has been rolled out to youth practitioners around the UK.
We have trained all of our project workers and trainers to better understand trauma and its impact, and delivered follow up training focused on developing self-awareness around wellbeing and self care.
Making it possible
Thank you to all of the donors who responded to our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal in 2020. The past year presented significant challenges financially, and our ongoing support to young people would not have been possible without the generosity of trusts, foundations, companies and individuals.
We would like to thank all of the young people who have participated in and graduated from our programmes, for continuing to challenge yourselves, each other, and us, ensuring that we respond and adapt to provide the best possible support.
We would also like to thank all of Leap’s trustees, trainers, young trainers and staff, for all that you do every single day, behind the scenes and on the ground, to enable us to provide consistent, high quality support and to make a positive impact in the lives of young people.