News

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together

Thomas Lawson
Wednesday 30th January 2019

On my last day as I look back over the last eight years at Leap Confronting Conflict, it’s hard not to be in awe of young people, my colleagues and the seemingly exceptional collaboration that is growing amongst youth organisations.

In the eight years I have worked here the most rewarding thing has always been when I see young people begin to hold themselves to account and become responsible for their own words and actions.  Then, like our young trustees and young trainers, they begin to hold to account the adults around them.  They begin to lead themselves – and others.  And I think, there goes one of our future leaders – a wonderful loving parent in the making, an amazing colleague, community activist, teacher.  And while I always feel proud about how Leap has supported them, I am conscious that the real hard work was all theirs.

Leap is a kind of magical ecosystem that fosters ideas, creativity, partnerships and has high expectations - of young people and of the youth facing staff in the sector who work for them.

And I've never worked in a sector in which people are so ready to tuck their egos in their armpits and, instead, resolutely focus on improving the futures of young people and their voice and role in society.  It’s amazing – and essential.  Only together can we tackle the wicked and complex problems that make life so difficult for so many of our young people.  Yesterday, sickening news was released that in just two years the number of our Black and Asian men who are locked up has increased from 40% of the prison population to 51%; that's clearly the effects of structural, endemic racism and we have no excuse for it.  Yesterday another 17-year-old boy was killed just a couple of miles from our offices: only when our sector works together and with companies and government will we be able to find solutions to such wicked problems.

I am so grateful to so many people who have made Leap the success it is today:

Alec Davison, our Quaker founder and all of the other former staff; all of the progress that we have made in the last eight years has been because we're standing on your shoulders and continue to be led by your vision.

Thanks to our volunteer trustees, particularly our young trustees who bring such valuable insight from your lived expertise.

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered their expertise - helping us with our strategic planning, legal advice, marketing advice; it's been invaluable.

I haven't worked in such a high-performing senior team before and I really appreciate how we came together at difficult times and how we challenged each other to ever better results.  Similarly, it’s been a privilege to be part of our incredibly professional body of staff and trainers all of whom work so hard and creatively, and so consistently with young people's interests at heart.

To every donor who has supported us - thank you for your vision and hunger for a better society in which everyone thrives.

To all of our partners and particularly to all of you lovely youth sector CEOs who have made sure that this is never a lonely job but one in which there is fun, support and exciting visions of what can be.

To you, dear reader, please continue to see the potential of all young people as central to the future of our communities, society and our mutual happiness.  Please keep working together and working hard to find better solutions to complex challenges.

On a railway bridge near my house, someone has painted ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together’.

I am moving to Turn2us, which exists to fight UK poverty – which is both a cause and a consequence of conflict.  If you think there are ways we can work together to support the 14 million of us who are living in poverty, please get in touch.

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