CEO Update: What's been happening at Leap

Ben Kernighan
Sunday 22nd September 2019

It has been a busy time at Leap since I started as Chief Executive earlier in the year. This is the first of a series of regular updates from me, outlining some highlights from the past three months.  

Strategic Priorities

  One of my early priorities has been working on a new strategy which we will launch in January next year. It has been a great opportunity to talk with young people about the issues causing conflict in their lives and to get their ideas about the future of Leap. Four things struck me in those conversations: the need for young people to be and feel safe on the streets, the need for support around navigating social media, race issues and issues around masculinity. It was striking how the young men we work with talked about how perceptions of masculinity meant that some types of feelings couldn't be expressed and the damage that caused. It was interesting too to hear all the young women we talked to reference how this causes problems for them in their relationships with men.   

Impact Reporting

 We work hard to ensure that we assess the positive impact that our work has and I am delighted that we have been shortlisted for the Third Sector Award: Best Use of Impact Reporting. Reading a recent evaluation of our Leadership and Enterprise programme, where we support young people in friendship groups in Lambeth and Southwark, it was heartening to read how a majority of the young people we work with go on to use what they learn to support other young people. It's great news that this programme has recently received the support of the National Lottery Community Fund to run for another three years. We are looking for partner funders for this work.  

Young People in Care

 I was delighted to chair an event about our Under Our Roof Pilot. In this programme, we work with young people in care alongside their foster carers and also with young people in care and their care home workers. It was great to hear from a care home worker from Norwich talk about the very positive effect our work has had on her, her colleagues and the young residents at her home. It was also great to see a range of local authorities and providers of care interested in partnering with us in the next phase of the programme.  

Embedding Leap's work into partners' programmes

 We always love working with Unlocked Graduates; training the next generation of prison officers to enter their careers with a great understanding of conflict. I am delighted that we are now also working with the Difference, supporting experienced teachers as they take on the tough job of working in Alternative Education settings with young people who have been excluded from mainstream schools.  

Summer highlights 

  It has been a great pleasure to meet our newly recruited trainers, a fantastic and diverse group of people who bring decades of life and professional experience to supporting the next generation of young people.  Where we can, we share our learning and insights with others who have an impact on the lives of young people. I was pleased to meet with the new Civil Society Minister Baroness Barran. Diana Barran is a supporter of Leap's work and has already hosted Leap graduates for knife crime debates in parliament. Of course the political environment is uncertain and fast moving.  Divisions within society are growing and conflict is not always managed well. It is therefore vital to hear young people's insight on the issues that most affect their generation. Hearing the passion that Leap young graduates have for supporting the next generation of young people to manage conflict is a great source of hope for the future.   If you interested in working with or collaborating with Leap's Youth Ambassadors, please email 

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