Our purpose is to give young people the skills to manage conflict in their own lives, reduce violence in their communities and help lead our society. We believe that no matter the choices they have made or the circumstances they face, every young person has potential and the ability to harness the positive power of conflict. 

Supporting young people

What is conflict?

Imagine a world where young people are at the heart of designing solutions to some of society’s biggest problems.

At Leap, we don't have to use our imaginations to picture such a world. We are surrounded by young people undertaking awe-inspiring work every day. Our young trustees who challenge us to be more ambitious, young trainers who support others to develop their conflict management skills, and the young people taking part in our programmes. Many of them have gone from struggling to manage the conflict in their lives, to becoming the next generation of role models and leaders. 

They have been on incredible journeys, from struggling to manage the conflict in their lives, to becoming the next generation of leaders. All are finding solutions not only to their own problems, but the challenges that face society. And their successes inspire others to dream big.

However, the challenges facing young people have grown since we were founded in 1987 and our research shows that life is getting tougher for young people who already face severe and multiple challenges. The number of young people in care continues to rise, the number of young people who reoffend is increasing and prison violence, knife crime and acid attacks are all reaching record levels. 

There are strong links between being taken into care, not being in mainstream education, being at risk of gang involvement and going to prison. For example, 1/3 of children in prison have spent time in care and 61% have a track record of being excluded from education. This has terrible repercussions, not only for young people, but also for our society. Knife crime, acid attacks and prison violence are all reaching record levels across the UK.  

In 2017 we launched our new three-year strategy, outlining our decision to work in four ecosystems:

  • care
  • alternative education
  • the secure estate
  • the community.

These are young people living in challenging environments, yet who have potential ready to be unleashed. Our programmes provide them with the platform to build on their existing strengths and use their lived experience to become society’s future role models and leaders.

What young people tell us

I get so frustrated when people don't listen 

Sometimes it's just easier to give up

When I get angry - it's over

I have a lot to get angry about - things never seem to go my way

I know I'm a lot for my mum to handle

I'm not a violent person. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed

It's really hard not to get sucked into drama when all your friends are involved

I want people to respect me

I want to be able to help when my friends are going through stuff

Testimonials

“During the course I learnt about my conflict triggers and how to manage them, which has helped me enormously with my anger issues. ”

Chelsea, Young Trainer

“The training I went on with Leap means that young people now feel safer with me because they know I can deal with the difficult issues they bring up. ”

Caroline, formerly Brighton and Hove Youth Offending Service

Our history

1987

Leap Confronting Conflict began life as LEAP (Leaveners Experiments in Arts for Peace), established in 1987 by Alec Davison as a project of The Leaveners (Quaker Community Arts Charity). We worked with young unemployed adults, using theatre projects to help them deal with the conflict in their lives.

1998

In 1998, Leap Confronting Conflict was launched as an independent charity.

2000

The new charity began ground-breaking work with young people involved in gangs in 2000, and set up the country’s first national network of young mediators (the YMN). Our projects were short-listed for Philip Lawrence Awards and the Whitbread Young Partners Awards.

2004

In 2004, New Philanthropy Capital recommended Leap to funders as one of 45 organisations across Britain whose interventions are likely to produce positive, well-targeted results. In the same year, Ofsted recommended that more young people and organisations should have access to Leap’s programmes.

2006

In 2006, we published our ground-breaking manual, Working with Gangs and Young People. The Institute for Public Policy Research recommended our work in educational institutions and we launched the £1.3 million PeerLink project to promote and support peer mediation

2007

In 2007, we held the first ever National PeerLink Awards that celebrated the achievements of our network of peer mediations and moved to new, larger premises in London’s Finsbury Park.

2008

In 2008, Leap was awarded Pathfinder funding by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and opened its first regional centre in Leeds.

2009

In 2009, Leap won the overall national Charity of the Year Award, and the award for Children and Young People’s charity of the year.

2012

In 2012 Leap wins a National Partners Award from NCVYS for involving young people in the planning and decision making processes of their work.

2013

In 2013 we launched the first Lighting the Fire – The Leap Annual Excellence awards to recognise the achievements of young people and professionals managing conflict in our communities.

2014

In 2014 Leap launched a pilot in partnership with HMPYOI Swinfen Hall that trains teams of inmates and staff to deliver Leap training to other prisoners

2015

In 2015 our flagship course for young people was rated in the top 10% of programmes evaluated by Project Oracle, London’s first evidence hub on children and youth, funded by the Greater London Authority

2016

In 2016 Leap launched two new initiatives: Peaceful Prisons, an action research project to pilot and evaluate new models for reducing violence in prisons and Leadership and Enterprise, a whole group approach where gang members support each other to make positive changes in their lives

2017

It was our 30th anniversary and the first year of our 2017-2019 strategy. We launched Power Up!, a project working with young women at risk of gang involvement and exploitation, and researched new programmes working with young people in care and alternative education. We won the CYPNow Children and Young People’s charity of the year award; Natasha Aldonza was awarded the London Youth, Youth Professional of the Year award, and we were highly commended at The Charity Awards.