LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, 11 APRIL 2024 – I am so proud to have recently joined the team at Leap Confronting Conflict, this pioneering organisation that specialises in enabling young people to become skilled conflict navigators and leaders who contribute to reducing harmful conflict in their peer group and their wider community. In 2023 we substantially increased the skills and confidence of 952 young people and upskilled 316 adults who support them.

“I learnt that I am a leader because before I thought that I wasn’t a leader.” 90% of our graduates think that Leap has made a positive difference to where they are in their lives one year after completing our training

In an increasingly divided and disconnected world these skills have never been more needed. Navigating conflict successfully is an essential life-skill. Conflict is unavoidable and something we all face on a day-to-day basis – at home, at school, at work, and increasingly in our communities. Learning to deal with it in a way which prevents harm and strengthens relationships with friends, family and wider networks is a set of skills that all young people and particularly those that are most marginalised and disadvantaged urgently need access to. As the economic, political and social pressures on communities rise, so does the demand for Leap’s transformational work empowering young people with these essential skills to change their own lives and to be a contribution to the lives of others.

“Leap has helped me understand that you can control your own actions. Even if somebody comes to you attempting to create or start conflict, you always have the option to walk away or take time to respond to the situation”

Sadly, the funding environment does not reflect this at the moment. As all of those across the civil society sector will be aware it has become much tougher to fund raise, particularly for core operating costs. And Leap, like many others has been affected by this over the last couple of years.

Therefore, in order to maintain the excellence of our delivery and increase our financial sustainability I and the Leap board of trustees are implementing a strategic restructuring programme. These measures are aimed at aligning resources with the organisation’s strategic delivery priorities in the short term and growing our reach and impact with young people in the long term.

We are strengthening our delivery focus and have appointed Laura Johnson, as the new permanent Director of Delivery. Laura joins Leap from Mind and brings 17 years of experience delivering programmes in the UK and internationally that have substantially transformed the lives of young people. Laura brings extensive experience in running multiple delivery programmes with different sets of partners to ensure high quality and measurable impact. Together with our expert delivery team she will ensure we deliver on target and on time against all of our funded projects and programmes in 2024/2025.

Sadly, the changes do mean that we are losing valued members of the Leap team. It is always tough making these decisions. However, these are challenging but necessary steps to ensure that Leap Confronting Conflict remains a resilient and impactful organisation. We are deeply committed to supporting staff affected by the changes and are providing all assistance to those impacted some of which will transition to new roles in our freelance trainer pool.

Leap Confronting Conflict remains steadfast in its mission to transform the way conflict is understood, managed, and resolved in society. The organisation continues to deliver high-quality programmes and services that empower young people to navigate conflicts constructively and build more inclusive socially cohesive communities. We would not have been able to achieve so much without the generous support of our funders and donors, many of whom have supported our work over a number of years. We are so grateful for their continuing support in what is a pivotal year for the charity.

“I was given the chance to have my ideas front and centre, We were all given the chance to take charge with our ideas and to listen to others when they were taking charge. This experience has taught me that I have capacity to be a great leader”

As Leap approaches its 40th anniversary in 2027 we are looking to the future. We believe that the skills and confidence to navigate sometimes complex conflict situations have never been more needed, and that every young person should have access to these essential skills. Working together with our funders, young people, delivery partners and key stakeholders we will be developing a sustainable scale-able delivery model to ensure our transformational programmes are available for young people right across the UK.