At the heart of what Leap Confronting Conflict achieves are the dedicated and skilled people on the staff team, trainer pool and board of trustees, as well as those who volunteer their time to support our work.

Leap’s work is delivered by a dedicated and highly skilled team of staff, freelance trainers and volunteers.

The staff team is led by Chief Executive Thomas Lawson, with a mix of permanent and project-based staff working to deliver our action research and training programmes.

We have outstanding trainers with immense experience in this field. Around half of them have graduated from our courses themselves.

We provide a range of meaningful volunteering opportunities to young people progressing though our programmes, and also host senior volunteers who give their time to support our work.

Our board of voluntary trustees gathers together experts and leaders from a wide range of backgrounds. 

Young people are represented at every level of Leap - as trustees, staff, trainers and volunteers - ensuring that our work remains relevant and focused on their needs. 

In 2016 Leap was award winner of the inaugural Charity Governance Award for 'Diversity and Inclusivity' on the board. This recognises Leap's commitment to supporting all board members to contribute, especially our three younger board members, who bring their own experiences and insight to decision making.  

View our current vacancies

Patron

Patrick Dunne

Patrick Dunne

Patrick was Chair of Leap until June 2015 and is now our founding Patron. He is chair of The EY Foundation and founder of both Warwick in Africa and ESSA- Education Sub Saharan Africa. Patrick spent 26 years working with international investor 3i Group plc, latterly as communications director and a member of its Operating Committee. He is also former member of the General Council of the University of Warwick. Patrick is a Visiting Professor at Cranfield School of Management and a Trustee of the Chartered Management Institute.

Trustees

Mark Spelman

Chair
Mark Spelman
Chair

Mark is responsible for the World Economic Forums’s Future of the Internet Initiative (FII) which has 5 main workstreams: Internet Governance, Cybercrime, Internet for all, Information for decision-makers, Digital Transformation of Industries.

The project is one of ten global challenges identified by WEF which requires an acceleration of progress through new and expanded forms of public – private collaboration. The project involves leading thinkers and decision makers from business, Government and civil society. The aim is to engage in analysis, dialogue and action across each workstream with the focus on a series of high level dialogues in Davos January 2016.

Mark is a regular participant and session leader at Davos and the WEF regional summits; a member of WEF’s Global Advisory Council on Europe and a member of WEF’s Advisory Board on Sustainability and Competitiveness.

Mark has been member of AmCham’s (American Chamber of Commerce) Executive Council based in Brussels over the past ten years, having been Chairman from 2007-2010; and Non-Executive Director of the UK Future Cities Catapult and Sport England.

Mark has two decades of experience working at board level at Accenture, in senior management and business strategy positions. Mark’s client work has centred on transformational change programmes across multiple businesses and geographies. He was actively involved in Accenture’s research programmes – on topics including globalisation, digital innovation, smart cities and entrepreneurship.

David Causer

Treasurer
David Causer
Treasurer

David is a chartered accountant and a member of the Securities Institute. He has held a number of senior positions within financial organisations including Finance Director of Mercury Asset Management group plc and a Managing Director of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers until 2001. David also has extensive experience in a range of charities including the British Red Cross where he was Director of Finances and Resources until December 2007. David joined Leap’s board in 2008.

Teresa Clarke

Teresa Clarke

Teresa Clarke is a Prison Group Director with Her Majesties Prison and Probation Service.  She has worked for the Prison Service since 1990 and has worked in a range of prisons across the country. She has been the Governor of Blundeston Prison in Suffolk, Stoke Heath (which held juveniles and young offenders) and Swinfen Hall in Staffordshire. She now has responsibility for the Public Sector adult prisons across the Midlands region and is also Care Leavers Champion for the Prison and Probation Service.

Aaron Jean-Baptiste

Aaron Jean-Baptiste

Aaron is a Quantitative Analyst for Old Mutual Global Investors with a primary focus on macroeconomics. His passion to engage in peer-led youth work arose after a friend passed away as a result of gang violence within his secondary school. He is a graduate of Leap’s Quarrel Shop and Young Trainers programmes and has supported Leap since 2010. He is also engaged with other charities such as Young Enterprise and Missing People in a bid to help encourage collaboration. You can learn more about Aaron by reading his case study. Aaron joined Leap’s Board in 2015.

Deborah O'Neill

Deborah O'Neill

Deborah O’Neill is a Partner within Oliver Wyman Labs focusing on financial services. During her time at Oliver Wyman, she has worked for a range of clients around the globe to deliver change and impact within retail and investment banks. Deborah’s particular interests lie in the areas of insight and reporting, risk management, and customer centricity.

Prior to her role in OW Labs, Deborah worked in Oliver Wyman’s Finance and Risk Practice, where she contributed to a number of high-profile programs with central banks in Europe and further afield.

Outside of the office, Deborah enjoys offshore sailing, skiing, and hiking, as well as the cultural benefits of theater, music, and food that living in London affords.

Deborah holds a BSc in physics from Imperial College London.

Anna Herrmann

Anna Herrmann

Anna has been working in the field of social change for twenty years, specialising in theatre and education with marginalised groups, both in the UK and abroad. Since 2002 she has been the Head of Education at Clean Break, a theatre company working with women affected by the criminal justice system. Anna worked at Leap from 1991-97, culminating in the writing and publication of ‘Making a Leap: Theatre of Empowerment’, a practical handbook in creating issue-based theatre with young people facing disadvantage. She returned as a trustee in 2006.

Chantal Chang

Chantal Chang

Chantal is a graduate of Leap’s Quarrel Shop and Young Trainers programmes. She has supported the delivery of Leap’s Annual Awards for a number of years and regularly delivers training to both professionals and adults.Chantal has won the British Youth Council 'Make a Difference' award for her contribution as a Young Trustee on Leap's board. She also works as a Housing Assistant Worker at City YMCA. 

Derek Bardowell

Derek Bardowell

Derek joined the Big Lottery Fund in July 2016 and is the Senior Head of UK Portfolio. He began his career as a music and sports journalist before moving to the social sector. Derek led a program of learning through journalism at Children’s Express (now Headliners) before serving as the Director of Learning at the Stephen Lawrence Trust. He moved to Esmée Fairbairn Foundation where he developed its education and learning grant-making strategy. In 2015, as Head of Programs at Laureus Sport for Good, he developed its funding strategy and oversaw grant-making in over 20 countries. Derek is currently a Winston Churchill Fellow. 

Upon joining Leap he said – “I have a great deal of respect for Leap work, having seen the impact first hand through Esmee’s investment in their work. Leap’s approach is very collaborative with a strong focus on partnerships with the rest of the sector. It is focussed on impact rather than activity and the way in which it involves young people in every aspect of its work really sets it apart. You know they mean it when a young person is interviewing potential trustees.”

Matt Bell

Matt Bell

Matt joined the Berkeley Group in April 2011. His role is to advise the main board on government relations, corporate communications and help lead the Berkeley Foundation. This follows seven years as the director of policy and campaigns at CABE, where he led teams working across Government to improve the quality of housing, schools, and public space.

Previously he has been the Chairman of an international NGO, Hope and Homes for Children, which gets young people out of state institutions across Eastern Europe and Africa; the Communications Director of VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas); and worked on community development programmes in Bolivia and Thailand.

Mike Conradi

Mike Conradi

Mike is a Partner at law firm DLA Piper. His passion for peer-led youth work arises from his years spent working as a leader in a Jewish youth movement. Mike joined the Leap board in 2003.

Peter Olawaye

Peter Olawaye

After benefitting from Leap’s programmes and a successful period as Leap’s social media intern in 2012, Peter is now a Co-ordinator for the youth charity Envision and is also the founded of Aiming Skywards, a social enterprise focussed on reducing youth offending. He is currently working at the EY Foundation as the Our Future programme lead, supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with making the transition into the labour market.                                                           “I would never have thought when I started at Leap that I would be on a board at 23. I am passionate about working with young people and am excited to give them a voice in Leap’s strategic decision making. I love what Leap does and am looking forward to seeing the effects of decisions I am involved in making and seeing the positive effects they will have on young people’s lives.”

Rachel Sandby-Thomas

Rachel Sandby-Thomas

Rachel is the Registrar at Warwick University. She chairs the University’s fundraising trusts in Singapore and South Africa, and is a member of the Friends groups established in the USA and in Hong Kong. Rachel also plays an active role in the development of the international partnerships for the University and serves on various Boards. 

Immediately prior to becoming Registrar, Rachel was shadow CEO of the UK Government’s Institute for Apprenticeships. This followed eight years of being a Director General in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills where she held a number of roles in legal, corporate services and policy (skills, regulation, large and small businesses and local government).  

Before becoming a Director General, Rachel had held a variety of posts in the Government Legal Service in a number of departments (HM Treasury; Cabinet Office; Attorney General’s Office; the Medicines, Healthcare and Regulatory Products Agency; Department of Trade and Industry and HM Revenue and Customs). She joined the Government Legal Service from City firm Linklaters where she qualified as a solicitor.  

Rachel graduated from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge with a double first class honours in Law. Rachel was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 2012, named as one of the 2016 FTSE 100 “Women to Watch” and The Times 100 “Most Influential Lawyers”, 2012.  

 

 

Senior Management Team

Thomas Lawson

Chief Executive
Thomas Lawson
Chief Executive

Tom joined Leap and its high-performing team of staff and trainers at the start of November 2010. His previous career in the voluntary sector spans more than 25 years in criminal justice, HIV, international reconciliation and development. He has also consulted for business to business PR and design agencies and for other national charities. Beyond Leap, Tom is a director of his family’s 111 year old retail company in the South West of England, Lawsons.

He is passionate about the difference that Leap can make in partnership with young people. His role at the helm of Leap includes making sure that young people are at the heart of the organisation as we respond to the developing challenges that face them and our communities.

Tom thrives on growing rewarding and sustainable relationships for Leap, and leading and developing a strong team. He brings integrity, transparency, passion and a dedication to quality to create transformational work for young people to become leaders.

He lives in South London with his civil partner. He gardens, reads and listens to music, all typically middle-aged pursuits

Ben Kernighan

Deputy Chief Executive
Ben Kernighan
Deputy Chief Executive

Ben started as Interim Director of External Affairs in September 2015. He is responsible for managing the income generation and communications at Leap.

Before Leap Ben was Chief Executive of National Union of Students and before that was Deputy Chief Executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations where he was responsible public policy, advice and support and income generation. Ben started in the voluntary sector as a volunteer at The Terrence Higgins Trust where he went on to manage services, fundraising and communications.

He developed the residential training provided to buddies who befriended people with AIDS. He has been a trustee of the Basic Skills Agency, Business in the Community and Futurebuilders England. He likes to travel, cook and walk.

Jessie Ben-Ami

Director of Programme Innovation
Jessie Ben-Ami
Director of Programme Innovation

Jessie is currently Director of Programme Innovation at Leap. Her role involves developing new programmes and curriculum in response to current and emerging issues that affect young people and the adults who work with them. 
Since joining Leap in 2001 Jessie has had a wide range of roles - most notably developing Leap's approach to working with Gangs and holding overall management responsibility for all delivery during a 3 year period as Director of Delivery. She is a co-author of the “Working with Gangs and Young People” manual, a bi-product of Leap's action research programme and now an essential manual for practitioners interested in gangs work. Jessie first began working with young people in 1994, providing support to young people that were serving custodial sentences in an open juvenile prison in America. Prior to joining Leap she worked for a community organisation in Brixton running an education project for young people who were out of school.  Outside work she is kept busy with her young family which has meant she has hung up her earphones and is now in 'retirement' from being a DJ. 

Sam Matthews

Director of Delivery
Sam Matthews
Director of Delivery

Sam joined Leap in April 2016. Her career spans over 20 years in the civil society sector and she brings significant expertise in quality improvement, planning and monitoring and evaluation to Leap's high performing team of staff and trainers. Whilst at Charities Evaluation Services (CES)Sam's key achievement was the development of PQASSO which has grown under her guidance to be the sector’s leading quality standard, used by thousands of third sector organisations. 

Sam is a highly accomplished and skilled trainer with expert change management consultancy skills. Working at Leap provides her with the opportunity to have a direct influence on bringing about change in the lives of young people.

She is a Trustee of FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development) and is the first charity consultant to be invited to join Pilotlight, a capacity building charity providing free tailored strategic planning support to charities and social enterprises that are tackling disadvantage in the UK.

In her spare time Sam enjoys going to the movies, eating out and walking in mountains. She is a mother of two children and a keen gardener. 

Tom Mathew

Director of Finance & Resources
Tom Mathew
Director of Finance & Resources

Tom joined leap in May 2011 and manages the organisation’s finances, office functions and human resources. He began working in the charity sector in 2006 at the City of Dublin YMCA, where he was promoted to the position of Senior Finance Manager after two months in post as a financial controller, and helped to successfully lead the organisation through financial difficulties brought on by the economic downturn.

Both at Leap and the YMCA, Tom has worked with young people to help improve their interview skills and financial literacy. Tom is also a published writer and award-winning essayist.

Staff

Delivery team

Kieran Watt

Improving Prospects Delivery Manager
Kieran Watt
Improving Prospects Delivery Manager

Kieran has a background of working in youth work in various settings including; schools and youth clubs, as a detached youth worker and on youth projects including a specialist gang’s project. He has also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work.

Outside of work he enjoys training at the gym, football, music and socialising with friends.

Alex McKell

Improving Prospects Project Worker
Alex McKell
Improving Prospects Project Worker

Alex has been working with Leap since 2005. She began as a member of the Peerlink Steering group and also worked with Leap on a voluntary basis. From here, she went on to become a young trainer in 2007 and has since become a Level 4 trainer with Leap. She brings a great deal of skills and qualities to her facilitation especially high energy and enthusiasm and really enjoys and believes in the work Leap does.  Alex has delivered on a range of Leap projects such as school programmes, quarrel shop and leadership programmes from which she has developed a high level of facilitation skills.In addition to training, Alex has also worked with young people  through various educational and development programmes such as NCS. Alex has a passion and energy for working with young people, specifically in ways which get them to recognise their true potential and reach for the stars. She is very excited to have joined the Leap team in her role as project worker and looks forward to making a difference.In her spare time, Alex enjoys spending time with her nephew, doing training when she can, baking yummy treats, keeping fit, travelling and volunteering with various groups to widen her perspective on life.

Naima Sakande

Programme Lead (Young Women's Work)
Naima Sakande
Programme Lead (Young Women's Work)

Naima joined Leap in December 2015 as a Project Worker on the Improving Prospects team and now leads on our work with young women. She moved to London from New York where she worked as an Investigator for a pro-bono public defence law firm in the Bronx. She has a B.A. in International Development from Yale University, and is busy trying to regain her English accent as a result. She has worked with young people involved in the criminal justice system since 2010 and is passionate about prison reform and social justice.

In life, she gets a kick out of ticking countries off her “to-visit” list, aspiring to be a writer of passable science fiction, and singing along to the radio. She hosts and produces the podcast 'Third Sector' and blogs for the Huffington Post. 

Ezimma Chigbo

Young Women's Worker
Ezimma Chigbo
Young Women's Worker

Ezimma is a Young Women’s Worker for LEAP and has worked with young people in a variety of settings for 10 years.

She is passionate about creating safe spaces for vulnerable young people and using creative ways to engage them in positive activities. She brings drama, poetry and creative writing to her youth work, devising workshops for schools, youth organisations and young offender’s prisons. She performed at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, attended by over 900 international experts and chaired by The Rt. Hon William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Prior to working at LEAP, Ezimma was a Teaching Assistant and mentor at two outstanding inner city secondary schools, supporting young people with special education needs as well as running a Girls Group for KS4 girls who were at risk of exclusion.

Ezimma is currently studying for a BSc in Development and Globalisation at Birkbeck, University of London, where she founded the Critical Race Group. In her spare time, Ezimma enjoys travelling, writing and photography. She is also a volunteer youth leader at one of London’s largest Pentecostal churches and enjoys spending time with her three godchildren. 

Gabin Sinclair-Constance

Leadership and Enterprise Manager
Gabin Sinclair-Constance
Leadership and Enterprise Manager

Gabin has been developing youth engagement initiatives for more than 20 years after completing a media degree at the University of Westminster and playing rugby for the London Wasps and London Broncos.

After teaching music, business and event management for ten years in both schools and non-formal settings, Gabin entered youth engagement management in 2001 developing delivery teams and a purpose built training facility as part of a multi-million pound millennium funded music venue in Hackney, East London.  

As the founder and Managing Director of a youth music charity in East London, Gabin has extensive experience of designing programmes for young people at risk of offending or exclusion and those seen as gifted and talented, resulting in supporting young musicians such as Labrinth and Michael Kiwanuka.

He received an award for innovation in regeneration from the Mayor of London in 2003 and during the London 2012 cultural Olympiad, he worked alongside the BBC on the education offer for ‘The Hackney Big Weekender, the Hackney 2012 team and the Olympic volunteer programme.

Gabin continues to find satisfaction in developing innovative ways to help young people reach their potential and continues to learn how best to encourage youth creativity and responsibility.

As well as supporting the development of young people Gabin enjoys relaxing with his family, photography and cooking. 

Ahmed Moallim

Leadership and Enterprise Project Officer
Ahmed Moallim
Leadership and Enterprise Project Officer

Ahmed Moallim is 23 years old. He participated in a Leap workshop at Tom Hood School in Walthamstow in 2008 and since then he has graduated from our Quarrel Shop and Training Young Trainers programmes. He is now a valued and active member of our young trainers’ team and works on our Leadership and Enterprise programme. He has delivered many training programmes for Leap including those for Network Rail and NCVO and he is a facilitator on the ASBAE (Addressing Sexual Bullying across Europe) project. He co-compared our Annual Awards Ceremony in July 2013. He is currently studying for a Youth Work degree at London Metropolitan University.

Jaden Osei-Bonsu

Progression Routes Officer
Jaden Osei-Bonsu
Progression Routes Officer

Growing up Jaden spent a lot of his time out on the football pitch, having played at various levels for Stoke City, Cambridge United, and Maidenhead United. As he got older, his ideas began to change and he started to set his mind on different goals. After finishing sixth form he went on to study psychosocial studies, graduating the top of the class. His studies created a deep interest for him into individual development, and he became a firm believer that our environment doesn't determine our outcome.

He then went on to coach with West Ham Foundation, enabling young people to transfer what they learnt on the pitch into life skills. Following that he worked at NCS with The Challenge, a social inclusion charity that encourages social integration nationally. 

In his spare time he leads sessions in rhythm and poetry classes (rap) at a creative arts centre, and regularly drops a few lyrics himself. He enjoys travelling and stepping out of his comfort zone which always gives him the chance to grow more!

Gwen Scott

Delivery Support and Office Manager
Gwen Scott
Delivery Support and Office Manager

Gwen ensures the smooth running of offices and admin systems, oversees Leap’s HR and recruitment processes, and manages the chief executive’s diary. As well as juggling all of this, Gwen loves spending time with her family and going out for meals at every opportunity. In whatever time she has left, Gwen enjoys massages, saunas, listening to all types of music and going to the cinema.

Claudia Cheung

Data and Impact Manager
Claudia Cheung
Data and Impact Manager

Claudia is responsible for outcome and impact measurement at Leap. Prior to joining Leap, she has worked as a strategy consultant in Singapore helping government agencies, companies, social enterprises, and charities evaluate and achieve greater financial and social impact. Claudia has a Masters Degree in Non-profit Management, and a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Global Studies from the University of Hong Kong. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures, languages, and cuisines.

Income & External Affairs team

Hannah Screech

Business Development Manager
Hannah Screech
Business Development Manager

Hannah joined Leap in March 2014 and is now Leap’s Business Development Manager. She manages the social enterprise arm of the charity’s income generation strategy. Hannah’s role is to generate new business and increase customer retention. Hannah manages sales of Leap’s training to organisations from across the Criminal Justice System, educational bodies, the voluntary and community sector and to corporate clients. Hannah has 8 years of experience working within the charitable sector, and before joining Leap; Hannah worked with a victim’s charity, specializing in initiating and developing long-term partnership relationships and service development. Hannah is a qualified project manager, a postgraduate in Criminology and Psychology and is currently studying for a qualification at the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Bethany Roberts

Business Development Administrator
Bethany Roberts
Business Development Administrator

Bethany joined Leap an intern in the Delivery Team before becoming a permanent member of the Business Development Team, giving her an insightful introduction to the different aspects of charity work. She has a varied background including; working for a firm of solicitors, volunteering at a centre for asylum seekers and teaching English as a foreign language.

Bethany graduated from Warwick University with a B.A. in English Literature and French and she has a passion for languages and travel. She has a special fondness for Paris after spending a year of her degree studying at the Sorbonne. 

Her work at Leap not only fulfils her passion for working with young people, but also provides invaluable opportunities to gain insights into the Criminal Justice Sector, the Youth Sector, the Education Sector and many more through Leap's partnerships and collaborations in these fields. 

In her spare time she enjoys reading anything and everything, exploring London and cheering on the Reds at Anfield!

 

Rosie Horton

Communications Officer
Rosie Horton
Communications Officer

Rosie joined Leap in 2016 as Communications Officer. She worked in communications in the social housing sector before making the move to Leap - a charity much closer to her passion for young people. Prior to this she was part of the Charityworks graduate scheme where she gained an extensive knowledge of the charity sector.

Outside of work, Rosie enjoys travelling and learning new languages. She has worked as a teacher in Chile and China, during which she realised how much she enjoyed working with young people. Other passions include sports and hiking. 

Operations team

Adebisi Desalu

HR and Executive Support Manager
Adebisi Desalu
HR and Executive Support Manager

Adebisi moved to London in 2008 from Lagos, Nigeria. She has a BSc in Economics from the University of Essex and a Masters in Economic Development in Africa from SOAS, University of London. Before joining Leap Adebisi worked at student unions for 4 years managing office and people functions. She is also involved with young people in a spare time through volunteering as a mentor with Mosaic UK and as a Trustee at Alec Dickson Trust which supports young people to volunteer in their communities.

At Leap Adebisi supports the senior management team and Board of Trustees as well as coordinates HR, organisational planning and reporting. Adebisi enjoys going to the cinema and kickboxing in her spare time.

 

Programme Innovation team

Tope Hunter

Programmes Delivery Manager
Tope Hunter
Programmes Delivery Manager

Tope is the Delivery Manager for training programmes in the secure estate, managing delivery of programmes in prisons and Young Offender Institutions.

Having worked with young people for over 16 years in schools and with schools as a mentor and mentoring project manager, Tope is passionate about ensuring young people reach their full potential and feel empowered to positively influence and impact those around them. She is very excited to be part of the team at Leap to deliver impactful training programmes on conflict management and working with the criminal justice sector.

In her spare time Tope does far too many things! This includes running around after her little boys, writing novels and doing online courses for personal and professional development. She also continues to provide mentoring support for young people, which she finds very rewarding.

Stephanie Papapavlou

Sales Delivery Manager
Stephanie Papapavlou
Sales Delivery Manager

Stephanie has worked with young people in professional and voluntary capacities since 2003, in schools, youth and religious organisations. Since 2012 she has been a board member for Wear it Purple, a youth-led charity focused on empowering sexuality and gender diverse young people.

Stephanie studied law and psychology, is on the Roll of Solicitors in New South Wales (Australia) and is a mediator. Stephanie worked as Dispute Resolution Manager for The Accord Group, implementing and promoting Codes of Conduct across various industries for the Australian Government. She was responsible for The Accord Group’s dispute resolution training across Australia, designing and running courses and seminars on conflict management.

After moving to London in 2014, Stephanie worked for Amnesty International as International Accountability Coordinator, providing advice, assistance and training in the management of conflict within Amnesty International entities. She additionally participated in organisation wide projects to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion, and improve project management.

In her spare time, Stephanie likes to explore Europe with her partner, is a singer and songwriter and is slowly improving her cricket skills!

Abigail Darton

Research and Projects Assistant
Abigail Darton
Research and Projects Assistant

Abigail joined Leap as a Quaker Peaceworker and is a research and projects assistant for the program innovation team. She is particularly excited to be working on the Peaceful Prisons Project and conducting research into Identity, Belonging and Extreme thinking. She has always been interested in how people interact and deal with challenging situations and in 2016 graduated with an MA which focused on understanding human vulnerability and how to harness it to build bridges and positive relationships.

Previous to Leap, she worked for a charity which worked with vulnerable adults and freelanced as a community theatre practitioner, running drama projects in prisons, PRUs, theatres and out in the community. Outside of work Abigail likes to travel and rock climb, and is slowly working her way through an A-Z of world cuisine in London.

Katie Potter

Programme Development and Events Officer
Katie Potter
Programme Development and Events Officer

Katie joined Leap in September 2016 as Research and Communications Assistant, as part of the Charityworks graduate scheme. She graduated from UCL with a Masters in Human Rights Law where she developed a passion for young people’s rights and a strong interest in the criminal justice system.   

Outside of work, Katie dedicates many early mornings and evenings to rowing on the Thames to fuel her competitive side. On the rare occasions of ‘downtime’ she enjoys baking, and finding yummy, cheap places to eat with friends. 

Trainers

Tony Weekes

Senior Trainer
Tony Weekes
Senior Trainer

Tony has many years of working with young people and conflict, and is Safety Manager and a key trainer with Youth at Risk. As one of Leap’s Senior Trainers, he has delivered much of the organisation’s schools work, adult training and work with gangs, and currently works as a consultant on Leap’s Sport Relief Project looking at Conflict Resolution in Sport Programmes.

Rene Manradge

Senior Trainer
Rene Manradge
Senior Trainer

Rene has worked with Leap since 1991, and is now a Senior Trainer. His first project was as an apprentice, being trained in conflict resolution and practising his skills in an Islington youth club. This was the start of a powerful journey for Rene, as he had to confront and challenge many of his own preconceptions about himself and others. Since then, he has helped create, design and facilitate many of Leap’s courses and programmes. Rene worked as a Qualified Youth Worker, and has run projects in art and design as well as conflict resolution and team building. Rene is still inspired by seeing the “light bulb” or “Eureka” moment when participants realise that things can be different for them, and they can make powerful choices about their lives. When not working, Rene enjoys drawing and painting.

Nik Pitcher

Senior Trainer
Nik Pitcher
Senior Trainer

Nik Pitcher is a state registered drama therapist and member of the Health Professionals Council with over 20 years experience working with young people at risk and managing adults who work with them in the UK, Europe and USA. A background in fine art and performance has equipped her with an innovative and creative approach.

During the past 12 years she has been a consultant and senior trainer for LEAP, developing, delivering and evaluating quality training for young people and adults in the UK. She has specialised in working with gangs, weapons and knife crime and supporting sports professionals who work with high risk young people. Most recently she co-led an action research programme for Leap focusing on girls who are involved in or affected by gangs or street violence, leading to the production of the practitioner resource ‘GIRL STORY’. In 2010 Nik co-authored the second edition of Playing with Fire and has been writing and developing modules for the BA in Youth and Conflict at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Alongside her work with Leap, Nik is Director of Carving Community with her partner James Bond, works on the MA in Dramatherapy at Exeter, offers team consultancy and supervision to other practitioners. She is currently completing an MSc in Psycho-Social Studies at Bristol University, focusing on the impact of interventions by returning servicemen who work with young people involved in gangs and street violence.

Nik is passionate about creating hearty, physical learning experiences in order to develop safe and meaningful relationships and opportunities for growth. Her primary focus has been to enable children, young people and adults (including herself) to develop a range of responses to difficult situations in order to effect successful change in their lives. When not working Nik enjoys riding wild horses with her daughter in preparation for a trek across Mongolia.

Nik Rabbani-Barker

Senior Trainer
Nik Rabbani-Barker
Senior Trainer

Nik is an experienced facilitator and has been developing unique mindmechanics training programmes since 1999. Courses have been inspected and commended by OFSTED and A.L.I. (Adult Learners Inspectorate). Satisfied clients include Education Leeds, Leeds Fostering Service, Mental Health Charities, Refuges and numerous Hospices. For the past twelve years she has created a series of bold training and coaching programmes that combine practical brain science with attitudinal change. Each course provides the mental tools to challenge disempowering belief systems.

Nik is a qualified N.L.P Practitioner and Clinical Hypnosis practitioner and holds a PGCE/Cert Ed in Teaching and Training Adults.

Nik joined Leap in 2008. She has team-led on numerous youth projects. She believes that we are incredibly powerful beings and as we leap beyond our own fears and personal limitations, our efforts can resonate on a wider scale across communities.

Nik is currently completing a book.

Carey Haslam

Senior Trainer
Carey Haslam
Senior Trainer

Amanda Nelmes

Senior Trainer
Amanda Nelmes
Senior Trainer

Amanda has been a part of Leap since 1998. She has extensive experience with working in partnership to design and deliver programmes for schools, prisons, police and youth offending teams – she led and managed programmes for our social enterprise department for a number of years. Recent other freelance work has been for the Reducing Reoffending Partnership where she was the Through the Gate Training and Resettlement Lead for Staffordshire and West Midlands and Derbyshire, Liecestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland Community Rehabilitation Companies.  

She was responsible for the design and delivery of training for CRC staff to build their confidence and find new ways of working across twelve prisons in the Midlands.

She originally joined the training pool as an apprentice from our youth programmes. An absolute belief that all young adults deserve a voice when they don’t have the skills to find their own, have ways of expressing themselves that are destructive or damaging to themselves, those around them or the safe running of their establishment, lies at the heart of her work.

To unwind she is a keen scuba diver and has recently travelled through Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

Jassy Denison

Senior Trainer
Jassy Denison
Senior Trainer

Jassy Denison has over 20 years experience as a trainer and consultant in the community and small business sector, with conflict & communication, participation and leadership development as the common thread through her work.

Jassy has worked extensively in community settings, with a commitment to recognising and working with diversity, developing inclusive and empowered communities. Her work has included the development of participatory structures and processes, community based research & evaluation programmes and peer support and education projects; creating opportunities for people to work effectively with and represent their own communities and build relationships between communities and individuals. As a community cohesion advisor for the Department for Communities and Local Government, she has managed and delivered projects building cohesion and facilitating dialogue and mediation in areas with high levels of conflict. She also works with teams and partnerships supporting them to work effectively through formulation of shared aims, strategies and work practices.

Jassy has delivered across the range of Leap programmes including work with staff and students in schools, gangs programmes, and adult training. Recent work for Leap has included the development of accredited peer mediation training, and Girlstory, a programme for young women affected by gangs and street violence.

She is a trained community mediator, an accredited teacher of co-counselling and a qualified counsellor (City University: recognised by British Association of Counselling) and has a post graduate diploma in Psychosocial Studies (University of West of England – Msc will be completed June 2012)

Nick Patel

Trainer
Nick Patel
Trainer

Nick started his journey with Leap as a participant on Quarrelshop before joining the Young Mediators Network as a member and then as chairperson for the steering group. He worked full time for Leap as a member of the Yorkshire team delivering Pathfinder, our high capacity schools mediation training project before returning to work as a freelance trainer.

Nick has experience delivering our accredited work in and out of schools and often works on our residentials. He also performs as a DJ and magician!

Katharine Yates

Trainer
Katharine Yates
Trainer

Katharine has worked with Leap since 2009 and has a background in physical theatre. She is passionate about facilitating an experiential creative learning process for and with the people she works with. Katharine has a particular interest in the use of play and drama in learning.

For Leap Katharine has delivered a wide range of work for both young people and adults. She has worked in schools across the UK, has designed and delivered Leadership programmes in prison settings as well as delivering training for adult youth professionals.

Alongside her work with Leap Katharine is co-director of deep:black, a social enterprise which uses the arts to create dialogue across difference. She also works with Clean Break Theatre Company, delivering their Women & Anger course and Making Choices as well as theatre based programmes.

Katharine believes in the power of the arts to engage people in a creative learning process and is excited about the potential for change and personal development through creative action.

Nigel Williams

Trainer
Nigel Williams
Trainer

Nigel joined Leap in 1996, arriving from the North of England where he had been studying Youth and Community Work in Manchester. Returning to London, he continued his career as an informal educator by joining the Waltham Forest Youth Service, where he is currently employed as lead manager for volunteering. Nigel believes in using drama and theatre techniques to support the learning process. He studied at Goldsmiths College for his Masters Degree in theatre and education, and has completed all the Boal workshops hosted by Adrian Jackson and facilitated by Augusto Boal. Nigel is very happy in his life, and enjoys the responsibility of being part of a family. He is in the process of developing a dream that one day he will spend some time watching the sun go down.

Jim Pope

Trainer
Jim Pope
Trainer

A creator of long term drama engagement programmes, Jim brings his extensive experience as an actor, director, teacher and trainer and co-Director of “Playing On” Theatre company, a professional company of actors and facilitators to the Leap training pool. In response to a specific need for delivering programmes of drama in young offenders institutes, Jim Pope created the Playing Up programme for the National Youth Theatre. This is a three-tiered drama programme for 17 to 25 year olds who are not in education employment or training. Accredited by the open college network, it is now in its third year running. The courses are well-regarded and outcomes include placement of young people in higher education. He works with various disenfranchised groups of young people in the field of film making, theatre and drama. He is currently working alongside the youth offending services of Hammersmith and Fulham to run a reparation programme for young people from a youth offending team as an alternative to custodial sentencing.

Meenakshi Sharma

Trainer
Meenakshi Sharma
Trainer

Meenakshi is a qualified teacher and has over 25 years experience of working in teaching, tutoring and training. She has been a freelance trainer for Leap since 2007 and has delivered numerous workshops on the ‘Pathfinder’, ‘Quarrel Shop’, ‘Identity and Prejudice’ and ‘On the Spot Mediation’ programmes. She is particularly interested in identity issues and helped to develop materials for a Valuing Diversity programme run by Conflict and Change in Newham. She currently works for the charity Kidscape on an anti-bullying programme for primary schools. In this role she delivers staff INSET and supports teachers in the delivery of the Kidscape lessons to the children. She is very committed to highlighting the difference between conflict and bullying and the need to have different responses to them.

Samson Osinnowo

Trainer
Samson Osinnowo
Trainer

Samson is one of Leap’s most experienced freelance youth trainers, having enjoyed ten years of service working with young people. Past activities include facilitating in schools, and youth offender institutions; co-ordinating youth residentials, and engaging with youth to recruit, facilitate, and conducting assessments and evaluation. Samson is deepening his knowledge and skills, and also working with adult practitioners, and promoting Leap’s work in the corporate sector. His specialism helps people understand themselves; working with children in care of mixed cultures and backgrounds, young people and street violence, gangs caught up in knife crime, drug involvement, and domestic violence.

Denise (Afua) Rose

Trainer
Denise (Afua) Rose
Trainer

Denise has extensive experience of working with people who often feel marginalised and have high support needs, including drug & alcohol issues, mental health concerns , homelessness and those with a history of offending. She has enjoyed many roles both frontline and senior, across the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Denise has worked within social services, prisons, drug projects, the youth sector, children's homes, schools/PRU’s, charities, probation, the courts and police stations. She has 27 years experience in the field and has acquired in-depth knowledge, of client groups and operational practices particularly within the drug prevention, youth, domestic violence and criminal justice sectors.

She is the franchise owner of a print and digital high end lifestyle magazine aimed at affluent women. She's also launched a social and community enterprise aspect of the magazine which is concerned with social justice and empowerment. They provide training and intervention to young people in particular young women who are vulnerable or at risk of abuse, violence, criminal offending or social exclusion.

She's a business entrepreneur, social care practitioner and social activist who enjoys reading, political debate, cooking, family, creative writing, sport, music and the arts. She's also a performance poet and vocalist who has performed worldwide. In addition she hosts a weekly topical talk and music show on community radio.

Denise is a mother & grandmother, who is involved in and dedicated to the cause of equality, social justice and advocacy for those less fortunate than myself. She would describe herself as, a conscious social care practitioner, eclectic entrepreneur and artistic revolutionary.

Lucy Shaljian

Trainer
Lucy Shaljian
Trainer

Lucy Shaljian is an actor, writer and drama practitioner who has worked extensively with young people in theatres, schools, colleges and prisons both devising and directing pieces of theatre. She is currently working in London schools using drama based workshops to raise awareness around different issues including abusive relationships and consent, sexual health and substance misuse and more recently FGM. She also works at Clean break theatre where she runs the introduction to theatre course for young women. Lucy is passionate about using drama to engage groups and to confront and explore issues. 

Kevin Brazant

Trainer
Kevin Brazant
Trainer

Kevin is a trainer, accredited supervisor and professional mentor. He has over 10 years of experience in working with conflict within families, as the founder of the Daddy CPR seminar series he promotes positive father involvement with families following divorce and separation. Proficient in working with issues of safeguarding, and high level contact disputes over children as part of public and private family law proceedings. With training in mediation and High Risk Conflict Management, he also works with issues of serious youth violence and gangs. He is an accredited Group Leader for Tavistock Relationship’s (TR) Parents as Partners programme working with couples and parents with issues of couple conflict, domestic violence and abuse.

He is also a film maker and credits include the award winning documentary “Unheard Voices” which explores the experiences of young fathers in Hackney. He delivers lectures and seminars for practitioners on topics such as masculinity and group identity (gangs) and serious youth violence as well as Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA). He also provides one to one and group supervision for training health, social care and youth work practitioners which provides a space for thoughtful reflection and analysis on their practice. 

Grit Kalkowski

Trainer
Grit Kalkowski
Trainer

Grit has lived and worked in London for almost 14 years. She has dedicated her career to supporting children and young people in a variety of settings. This includes delivering personal development programmes, running interventions for young people in the criminal justice system (in community and custody) to consulting and training whole school communities in developing and implementing sustainable restorative practices.

More recently, Grit has focused her work on exploring the dynamics and impact of conflict particularly in sexual and serious youth violence. She is passionate about supporting and educating individuals develop effective and lasting ways of resolving conflict by reflecting on behaviours and needs in the hope of achieving lasting change. Fundamentally, Grit advocates the Youth Participation agenda and believes that we must listen to children and young people more regularly and include them in the development and delivery of interventions to achieve the best outcomes. Grit is an experienced practitioner, mediator, group work facilitator and trainer.

Rachel Batten

Trainer
Rachel Batten
Trainer

Rachel is an qualified teacher, project manager, and freelance conflict trainer and consultant. For most of the last 10 years she has designed and managed projects working with some of the most vulnerable young people in alternative education programmes with organisations including PRU's and Prison Education units. She now focuses her time on designing and delivering meaningful training to staff and young people within these organisations and overseas. Specialising in Leadership, Conflict Resolution, Safeguarding, Understanding Challenging Behaviour, and Positive Group Dynamics.

Clifton McDonald

Trainer
Clifton McDonald
Trainer

Clifton joined Leap in 2009, since then he has delivered on our Pathfinder, Quarrel Shop and Identity, Prejudice and Leadership Programmes. He is a qualified Youth & Community Worker with over 20 years experience who has worked with a wide variety of organisations in the public, statutory and 3rd sector delivering one to one and group work programmes.

As a coach, trainer and workshop facilitator Clifton has supported young people and adults on conflict resolution, bereavement, building self-esteem, identity, leadership, peer mentoring/leadership, anti-social behaviour, transition, young men rites of passage, team building and performance management. He is committed to delivering and promoting equal of opportunity to all that he comes into contact with. In working non-confrontationally, Clifton is committed to his own, as well as the personal, self and spiritual development and growth of those he works with.

Petra Hilgers

Trainer
Petra Hilgers
Trainer

Petra is a development practitioner with over 15 years of international experience in personal, team & organisational and community development. Originally from Germany, Petra has developed her skills in peace building, non-violent communication, mediation and conflict coaching working in countries and communities all over the world including Bosnia, South Africa, Uganda, Darfur/Sudan, Afghanistan and now in London.

As a development practitioner Petra is passionate about supporting people to make changes that are positive for them and is particularly interested in exploring the power of anger.

Petra has been a community mediator in East London since 2006, and currently also works part-time as a family mediator for The Children’s Society,

Together with Kweku Aacht and Katharine Yates, Petra is running her own company deep:black which specialises in using the arts to work creatively with conflicts. She’s excited about giving arts more space in her life and is exploring her own creative skills especially around photography and movement.

Macarena Mata-Porras

Trainer
Macarena Mata-Porras
Trainer

Macarena has been a mediator, trainer, lecturer and facilitator for the past 11 years, designing and running training projects in a wide range of organisational, management and personal development areas. She works as an accredited mediator within the workplace, family and community mediation context, working with executives, academics, teams and community groups on mediation, conflict resolution and self-awareness training, as well as with young people in schools and youth organisations.

In addition to mediating and training, she also works as an assessor in accredited mediation programmes, and as a conflict coach helping people understand how to change their relationship to conflict and prepare for mediation processes. She has lectured on conflict theory and self-awareness and reflective practice at the PgCert and MSc courses at Birkbeck College, University of London, and is the ‘Applied Theory’ module leader for the ‘Conflict Resolution and Mediation’ PgCert course at Regent’s University.

For Leap, Macarena has delivered work for both young people and adults. She was involved in the Pathfinder programme from 2008-2011 with a focus on designing and delivering peer mediation in schools, and has also worked within the Identity, Prejudice and Leadership programme. In the last few years, Macarena has focused on Improving Prospects, delivering training and assessing accredited courses for young people on conflict resolution and facilitation.

Her academic qualifications include an MSc in Conflict resolution and Mediation Studies from University of London and a Ph.D. from Cranfield University. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees with Mediation Hertfordshire for four years. Macarena is a member of the College of Mediators, National Family Mediation, Civil Mediation Council, Association for Conflict Resolution and Mediators Beyond Borders.

Macarena believes that every individual is capable of choosing their own future, and that conflict – as a natural part of life – provides rich opportunities to learn about oneself and the world. She was born in Málaga, Spain, and has lived in London for the last 18 years with her husband. Macarena can mediate and train both in English and Spanish as needed.

Tom Currie

Trainer
Tom Currie
Trainer

For the last 24 years, the heart of Tom’s work has been facilitating individuals and groups to achieve transformational shifts in their limiting beliefs, destructive behaviours and organisational culture. Prior to joining Leap in 2008, Tom spent 17 years designing and delivering experiential personal development training in the corporate, statutory and community sectors for a client list that included airlines, advertising companies, local and central government departments and charities.

Tom has trained with many different master practitioners and incorporated a wide range of approaches in his practice including distinction based learning, emotional release work, therapeutic models and systemic approaches. He is passionate about supporting people to increase their self-awareness, overcome challenges and fulfill their potential by identifying and developing their untapped capabilities.

Since joining Leap, Tom’s roles have included: managing recruitment and development of the training pool and the quality of the accreditation processes; supervising action research and designing innovative programmes; and creating and implementing new evaluation tools and processes to help understand the impact of their training. His project work has addressed a diverse range of challenges including: preventing racist violence, researching the causes of prison violence, using golf to teach conflict resolution skills, creating female empowerment training materials, reducing educational exclusion, and training sexual violence support professionals.

Other than his work and family, Tom’s other love is music. He was Musical Director of a community choir for 6 years and occasionally gets Leap colleagues singing sweet four-part harmonies. His dream is to combine music and conflict resolution to strengthen people’s sense of identity and belonging.

Andy Jukes

Senior Trainer
Andy Jukes
Senior Trainer

Andy had extensive experience leading distinction based personal development work to adults as well as working as a connexions advisor to young people when he joined Leap on the Gangs & Territorialism project in 05.

After two years delivering partnership projects he went on to consult for Social Enterprise, specialising in working with gangs and YPs at risk. He also has a particular interest in outdoor experiential learning.

Allison Gibbs

Senior Trainer
Allison Gibbs
Senior Trainer

Allison started working with Leap in 2004. She has many years of experience working with young people, and people with issues around substance misuse. Allison has delivered lots of Leap’s schools programmes, has supported a wide range of Peerlink events, and has mentored many of Leap’s Young Trainers. She is currently training to be an NLP practitioner.

Alex King

Trainer
Alex King
Trainer

Kaljit Virdee

Trainer
Kaljit Virdee
Trainer

Kaljit is an experienced facilitator, having worked with young people and the professionals who support them for the last 10 years. He has worked with some of the hardest to reach and supported them to confront some of the decisions they have made in their past, and look at designing a future that looks completely different - so that they can move forwards with some power and choice in their lives. Kaljit joined Leap's training pool in 2014, and is passionate about making a difference.

Natalie Rouncefield

Trainer
Natalie Rouncefield
Trainer

Lorena Vargas

Young Trainer
Lorena Vargas
Young Trainer

Lorena is 20 years old and joined Leap a few years ago when she took part in the Quarrel Shop programme. Since then she’s always been involved with Leap, as a volunteer – at funder meetings and on interview panels as well as helping out with events and she continued to do the Level 3 Training Young Trainers Programme. Now she is a qualified freelance trainer for Leap which means that she delivers conflict management training for her peers and also for the professionals working with young people. Lorena loves learning new things, broadening her knowledge and experiences.

Kweku Aacht

Trainer
Kweku Aacht
Trainer

Kweku Aacht joined Leap in 2008 with a background ranging from training for London Underground to mediating with Hackney Mediation Service. Since then he has delivered many of our youth programmes and adult programmes. He is one of our most creative and enthusiastic trainers. Outside of Leap, Kweku trains for a wide range of organisations and recently he facilitated a symposium in South Africa for Desmond & Leon Tutu Legacy Foundation UK, which brought together all the international organisations under the Tutu umbrella. Kweku is also a dancer and a musician and runs his own nutrition and wellness business

Amyn Ali

Young Trainer
Amyn Ali
Young Trainer

Amyn first got involved with Leap when he took part in Quarrel Shop in 2012. After using what he'd learnt at Leap to help his friends, Amyn decided to take the Training Young Trainers course and is now a freelance Young Trainer. Amyn hosted our annual excellence awards and in 2016 he himself was presented with the Leap Young Leader Award. In his spare time Amyn enjoys acting and calisthenics street workout and plans on opening his own gym to engage his peers through sport.

Chelsea Ives

Young Trainer
Chelsea Ives
Young Trainer

Chelsea became a young trainer after taking part in our Quarrel Shop programme in 2013. In 2015 she not only hosted our annual award event, but was also presented the Leap Young Leader award for her work training her peers. Chelsea wants to use her personal experience to work with adult prisoners and be a postive role model to other young people as well as her daughter. 

Fatma Omar

Young Trainer
Fatma Omar
Young Trainer

Fatma Omar Aboud started her conflict resolution journey at 16 when she joined an organisation called Conflict and Change. She completed a conflict management course with them and was really inspired by her facilitators. She worked as an intern with Conflict and Change and also dedicated her university dissertation on Conflict Resolution. 

She joined Leaps Training Young Trainers Programme and is now a qualified freelance trainer for Leap. Fatma loves working with young people and particularly enjoys making an impact on society. Her favourite conflict resolution quote; “Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood”

Demi Ryan

Young Trainer
Demi Ryan
Young Trainer

Demi has been involved with Leap since she took part in the Quarrel Shop programme and is now a Young Trainer. She was a runner up in Leap’s annual ‘Young person achieving excellence’ award in 2013. She is now doing an apprenticeship as a Substance Misuse Worker with Camden Council and studying for her diploma level 3 in Health and Social Care. She wants to use her experience growing up in care to help mentor children in similar circumstances.

 

 

Natasha Aldonza

Young Trainer
Natasha Aldonza
Young Trainer

Natasha first got involved with Leap as a young volunteer through her school in 2004, using the tools she'd learnt to help resolve conflict with friends. She eventually trained to become a peer mediator in school and continued delivering workshops on conflict resolution. She also helps to organise Leap's annual awards and other functions. 

In 2013, she gained the Level 3 qualification in delivering workshops as a freelance young trainer... She is now 24 years old, an undergraduate in sports development and a full time sports coach/TA in a primary school. 

In her spare time, she loves to listen to music and live a fun and healthy lifestyle with family and friends.