We have over 30 years’ experience designing and delivering powerful training.

We learn through robust research and creative innovation. We believe in action research - a practice in which we carry out both ‘action’ and ‘research’ at the same time. Participants are involved in the design of the programme, which allows us to develop new programmes at the same time as we carry out training on the ground. 

This approach allows us to better understand current and emerging social issues. It also creates a space where we can learn from participants on our courses and experts in the field, alongside carrying out more formal research.  

Leap has a voice on the issues that confront young people in the UK, and we are well-placed to support the development of policy and practice. 

Current projects

Leadership and Enterprise

In 2016 we launched the pioneering three-year Leadership and Enterprise Project in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Both areas have high levels of violence associated with gang related activity, resulting in young people at risk of becoming involved in gangs. 

The project follows a whole group approach that sees young people support each other to make positive choices in their lives. We believe peers are the best people to influence each other, challenge behaviour and bring about long-term, lasting change. We are working in close partnership with other organisations who already have established relationships with young people in order to deepen our impact and broaden our reach. 

Weapon related crime

Weapon related crime is rising, with knife crime, moped crime and acid attacks all soaring. We have over 10 year's experience supporting young people at risk of carrying knives and weapons, and have updated our curriculum in line with new trends - such as the use of mopeds, social media and the changing nature of gangs.

Our work ranges from programmes with whole groups of friends, to training for practitioners who work with young people.

Power Up

Leap's three year project (2017-2020) works with young women in Lambeth who may be at risk of exploitation or gang activity. Working in close partnership with Leadership and Enterprise, this project will allow Leap to offer services to young women, whose specific needs can be overlooked when tackling peer-on-peer violence.

Through partnership work with local organisations and by building strong connections with young women in Lambeth, we will look at safe choices, positive relationship building and developing self-value through our interactive and inspiring training courses. The project will be aided by a period of action research and focus group learning, and will draw on over 6 years of experience developing curriculums for young women.

Peaceful Prisons Project

This three-year project aims to reduce violence in prisons. Since launching in October 2015 we have researched the causes of violence in UK prisons and studied examples of good practice in violence reduction across the secure estate. During 2017 and 2018, we will develop and pilot an intervention that reflects our learning. The programme will benefit from independent evaluation and the final results will be disseminated to stakeholders and potential partners.

The programme benefits from an Advisory Panel that includes ex-offenders, senior managers from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), academics and researchers with direct experience of UK prisons and violence reduction practitioners.

The combination of academic and action research with operational experience is an exciting hybrid that offers the best of both research, practice and strategic intelligence.

Alternative education

The number of young people excluded from school has risen by 40% in the past three years – an average of 35 young people each day. Many of them go to Pupil Referral Units (PRUs). We have been working in PRUs since 2012, but in 2017 we decided to take a deeper look at what is and isn’t working in our PRU programme.

We have now created eight designs for potential programmes in this area, which we will pilot in 2018. They are based firmly on the strengths of the young people involved, and are likely to cover conflict with education and conflict and change. We will also explore how we can best use technology to offer support to young people who are temporarily excluded from mainstream schooling. 

Care

Leap’s innovative new programme aims to improve the relationships that young people in care have with their carers and others around them, supporting their relationships to last or, if they must end, to end better. Leap will work directly in the care system training young people, care home workers and foster carers, empowering them to manage conflict before it becomes destructive and making relationships more resilient.

Past projects

Gangs and Territorialism

This project began in 2001 and focused on supporting young gang members in healthy transitions to adulthood. Two staff members interviewed 330 young people involved in gangs, studied successful interventions working with gangs in the US, mainland Europe and across the UK and conducted a paper review to build on their understanding . Leap then ran pilot programmes in London, Manchester and Glasgow to trial the newly developed training materials based on the following key themes:

  • Safety and Danger
  • Space and Territory
  • Status and Reputation
  • Enemies and Revenge

The practice that the trainers developed was written up in a practitioner manual - “Working with Gangs and Young People”. Since its publication in 2006, it has become Leap’s most successful publication, selling more than 2,500 copies.

 

Girlstory

Approaches to gang and street based violence (including the criminal justice system), have often overlooked the experience of young women. In 2010 we undertook a small action research programme to address this imbalance. We explored existing research and worked directly with young women and professionals in areas where there was a high level of gang activity, to develop work specifically targeted at young women affected by gangs. From this we created the GIRLSTORY resource pack, offering information and guidance to practitioners, as well as a programme for girls that we have piloted in Manchester, Bristol and London over a period from 2011-2015. The first practitioner training was rolled out to professionals from Youth Offending Teams, Targeted Children’s Services and Housing Associations and Pupil Referral Units in December 2015.