BY LEAP’S SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM – GABIN, LYDIE, STEPH AND RUTH
Leap’s work is designed to support young people to break out of habitual patterns of behaviour that may once have served them, but no longer do. We found ourselves in a similar situation last year; the pandemic exposed our attachment to frameworks and systems that kept us bound to an old way of thinking. The world around us had changed; the needs of young people had changed; and we needed to change too. By breaking our mould and developing new ways of working, we are becoming more aligned and cohesive as an organisation, and better positioned to offer the support that young people really need from us today. Hear about the journey we’ve been on over the past year, the reflection we have done, and the learning we are taking to shape the work that we do going forwards.
2021 was a year of Transition for Leap. We have taken the time to step back and review our core purpose, identify our strengths, and reflect on the wider context in which we work. It was a challenging year, with unexpected lockdowns as we prepared to return to in-person training after a year of delivering our programmes digitally.
What makes Leap training so unique and impactful is its participatory and exploratory nature, which is particularly powerful when brought to life with participants in a room together. With the move to digital working in 2020, we were able to successfully adapt our training for the online space, without losing the elements that make us unique. Whilst we had some positive results earlier on, we have since experienced some setbacks around delivering our traditional training online for young people – particularly those who face digital exclusion and lack a safe space at home. Despite this, we continued to adapt and worked flexibly to offer the best online support we could when we were unable to have young people in the room.
For adult professionals, we have found that online delivery worked well. A total of 449 adults completed Leap training last year, improving their ability to build better relationships with the young people they work with. This was clearly recognised by London Violence Reduction Unit who funded a second phase of our Rise Up Leadership Partnership programme, which was adapted to run fully online – to train more youth workers to become the sector’s next generation of leaders.
We are proud of everything the team has achieved over the past twelve months to support young people at home, in the community, and in schools, and equally to support the adults in their lives. We encourage you to look at our 2021 Digital Impact Hub which spotlights some of this incredible work.
We’ve continued on our journey of exploring race and racism at Leap – focusing on individual and collective relationships, trust and power dynamics across the organisation, as well as finalising our culture audit to help us better understand organisational health, improvements we need to make, and the key areas to invest in.
At the same time, our team have been working hard to refresh Leap’s organisational strategy and develop a new brand, website, core narrative, vision and mission that authentically reflect who we are, who we support, the work that we do and the impact that we have.
In the time we’ve spent reflecting on our work and our impact, it has become clear that social and emotional learning is at the heart of what we do – and we can demonstrate impact much more clearly in this area.
We also reflected on Leap’s wider delivery model across the capital with a focus on exploring the possibility of developing a hyper-local offer tailored to the individual characteristics of each borough. The feasibility study, which we commissioned thanks to the Fidelity UK Foundation, confirmed that this was the best strategy to scale up our impact.