from Leap's Senior Management Team
2021 was a year of Transition for Leap. We have taken the time to step back and review our core values, identify our strengths and reflect on the wider context in which we work. It was a difficult year, with unexpected lockdowns as we prepared to return to in-person training, and challenges around online delivery as a result of digital exclusion and the lack of safe space at home for young people. Despite this, we continued to adapt and worked flexibly to offer the best support we could. We are proud of what the team has achieved and glad to share this report with you which highlights some of their incredible work.
In our last Impact Report, we set out the steps we are taking to become anti-racist as an organisation. After listening to the wider Leap community and learning from a full culture audit, we recognise that there is a long road ahead. However, we are fully committed to getting it right. One of our key commitments towards this has been to focus on individual and collective relationships across the organisation. At the same time, we have been reflecting on what it means to be an anti-racist organisation, and thinking carefully about the approach we need to take to get there, including re-evaluating the systems and structures that we have in place. We are determined to continue having these conversations, listening to our people, challenging inequalities and continuing to build on this work over the long-term to get to where we need to be.
Transition for Leap has involved us rethinking our strategy and where we should focus our efforts in a very different post-pandemic world. We explored our identity and our place in society, which saw the development of a new brand, vision and mission for our organisation. Read more about the journey we’ve been on so far.
We have shifted our approach to how and where we work.
- We have been increasing our reach across London
- We have been delivering much more work in schools
- We have been working with more adults who support young people
- Co-production is becoming much more embedded across our work, with young people remaining engaged over a longer period
- We are offering much more 1:1 support
- We are engaging young people in new ways with a more structured Youth Ambassador programme.
A Time of Transition
The past two years have brought a lot of changes in the lives of young people and the adults who support them. There has been a breakdown of trust in our government; conflict is escalating in society; and new pressures are being placed on relationships at work, at home, in school and online. Building resilience in the face of these challenges is more important than ever.
In the time we've spent reflecting on our work and our impact, it has become clear that social and emotional learning is central to what we do. We support young people to navigate conflict in their lives, and increasingly we help them to build self-esteem and self-confidence. We believe that equipping young people with these soft skills is incredibly important in enabling them to be agents of change in their lives and in our society.
Our support is also proving vital for the adults who work with young people. Since 2021, we have supported The Parent House, Bristol VRU, Depaul UK, Waltham Forest College, Regenerate, Brent Council, Enfield Grammar and Osmani Trust amongst others. Our training equips these parents, teachers and professionals with tools and techniques to better support and communicate with young people with conflict, whilst creating space for relationship building.
In total, we supported 186 young people through face-to-face delivery in 2021.
Our team engaged with young people in a wide variety of ways, providing 1:1 support at Leap offices and group support in the community, including with Islington Summer University, Osmani Trust and The Edge in Hackney.
Young people also joined us on residential trips outside of London, youth ambassador sessions, involvement groups and co-production projects.
Strengthening London's Youth Sector
The Evolution of Rise Up
We are proud to be a key partner on the Rise Up Leadership Programme for its second year – working alongside London Youth, Power the Fight, Clore Social Leadership and funded by the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.
Rise Up is strengthening London’s youth sector by investing directly in frontline youth practitioners and their organisations, developing a new generation of sector leaders across our communities. The pilot year of Rise Up came to an end last autumn, with 82 youth workers completing the programme online. 90% had an increased understanding of conflict and 70% were able to develop tools and strategies to manage conflict situations.
We’ve taken the learning from the first year of delivery and made improvements including greater consistency, relationship building and consolidation of learning for participants. The second year of Rise Up is now underway, with a total of 89 youth workers taking part representing all London boroughs.
Spotlight: Ashley - Co-producer of Let's Talk Conflict Podcast
Ashley is 25 and from Glasgow. For the past two years, she has been involved in Let’s Talk Conflict - our podcast hosted by a group of young care leavers who are experts by lived experience.
Co-production has always been at the heart of Leap's work, giving voice and support to those we are working with - enabling them to create change within their environments and for themselves. In 2021, we worked intentionally to bring co-production into our projects and curriculum.
Our flagship co-production project is Let’s Talk Conflict - a podcast hosted by seven young Care Experts. The group’s vision is to help create a world where care experienced people are thriving, not just surviving. They help to achieve this through the podcast by sharing their knowledge and experience to inform, uplift and empower young care experienced people to navigate the conflict and challenges of life.
Season 1 of Let’s Talk Conflict has reached over 1,350 listeners from across the world. Highlights include Episode 7, where the group reflect on the journey of co-producing a podcast and the challenges involved. Episode 4 was successful in influencing policy and practice in the sector as it fed directly into the Care Review happening in England. Following the release of this episode, the group met with the Chair of the Review, Josh MacAlister, to continue the conversation. Stay tuned for Season 2 which is coming soon – and for more policy influencing from the group in 2022.
Looking to the Future
The past year has proven that our work has a wider impact beyond managing conflict. We’ve learnt that young people, with everything going on in the world, need support with social and emotional development to help them build resilience and foster healthy relationships. We are committed to continuously improving our understanding of the pressures and challenges young people are facing, so that we can provide the best possible support.
The thinking we have done during this transition period has allowed us to refine our strategic priorities. We are working hard to ensure that the language that we use is consistent with what we do, and to develop new monitoring systems that will help us to better evidence these outcomes in the longer term, including the social and emotional impact of our work in the lives of young people.
With all of this in mind, over the coming years, we will:
- Continue delivering and developing our programmes, working with young people who have been challenged by conflict situations and supporting adults who interact with them
- Strive to be the expert voice in conflict navigation for young people
- Work to create a culture for young people to be involved in, influence and co-create opportunities
- Ensure we maintain strong organisational health.
Making it Possible
We would like to thank each and every one of our supporters - individuals and corporates - for your donations and grants in 2021.
Particular thanks go to The National Lottery Community Fund, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Stone Family Foundation, Tuixen Foundation, The John Armitage Charitable Trust, London Stock Exchange Foundation, Kurt and Magda Stern Foundation, Social Business Trust, The Treebeard Trust, The Rayne Foundation, The McCartney Foundation, Capital Group and Beggars Group.