#LightingTheFire is Back: Meet the 2019 Finalists

Madeleine Weaver - Communications & Events Assistant
Monday 29th April 2019

Lighting the Fire is Leap’s annual awards event that celebrates the young people, adults and projects/organisations that are helping young people to manage the conflict in their lives.

At Leap we know that conflict can take many forms, whether it is violence, aggression, relationship breakdown with family and friends, bullying or self-harm. There is an enormous amount of work being done in the wider community to support young people with the conflict in their lives. Lighting the Fire is an opportunity to recognise and raise awareness of some of this extraordinary work; and to bring partner organisations together with young people and funders.

The theme of this year’s ceremony is Truth and Reality. This was chosen by a group of young Leap graduates who wanted the opportunity to present their perspective on critical issues facing communities across Britain today in the age of toxic social media and rising violent crime.

The quality of nominations for this year's awards has been outstanding. We would like to thank each and every one of the 40 nominations received.

After much deliberation, the judges have come to a decision. The 2019 finalists are:

Best Project/Organisation:

Dallaglio RugbyWorks 

This rugby-based programme works with young people in alternative provision schools, aiming to support teenagers into sustained education, employment or training. The coaches train the young people in soft skills and life values, improving their employability and providing crucial pathways to the future. 

Trailblazers Mentoring 

Trailblazers Mentoring supports young offenders by partnering them with volunteer mentors from the community. The mentoring takes place in prison and also following their release from custody, to help manage conflict and overcome the significant barriers that young men face reintegrating in society.  

The Ubuntu Roundtables Project 

This project has been created through a partnership between Youth Futures and the Tutu Foundation UK. It brings disenfranchised young people and their local police officers together to build trust, respect and understanding in order to reduce police-youth antagonism on the streets.  

56 Black Men 

This campaign features a photographic series documenting 56 black men. It has been set up to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding black men, by demonstrating the varied and positive work these men are doing across all professions and sectors.

Inspirational Adult:

Duncan McBurney 

Duncan is a committed Youth Justice Practitioner who understands the social and environmental factors that many young people involved in offending are faced with. Based in Leeds, he focuses on creating innovative initiatives which promote the strengths of these young people and build their self-esteem. 

Mark Murray 

Mark is a founding member of Youth Futures, and is dedicated to creating safe spaces for young people to come together and build mutual trust, respect and understanding. Mark is passionate about challenging mindsets, creating new opportunities and enabling young people to make positive choices within their communities. 

Meconah Morrison 

Meconah lives and grew up on the Tulse Hill Estate and is a real agent for change within the community. She holds many relationships with young people who have been negatively affected by violence and gang conflict. Meconah gives these young people a voice, for example by facilitating their involvement in the Tenants and Residents Association meetings. 

Dr Richard Grove 

Dr Richard Grove is a clinical psychologist and co-founder of ‘Project 10-10’ based in North London. The project is a multi-agency collaboration which provides coaching and mental health support for young people who are involved in, or at risk of involvement in, serious violent crime.

Young Leader:

Danielle Meredith – West London Zone

As a Link Worker for West London Zone, Danielle (23) has successfully built trusting relationships with 30 ‘at-risk’ young people at a Kensington school. Many of these children are struggling with low self-esteem, difficulties with peers and low levels of engagement. Danielle supports these young people to set their own goals and teaches them strategies to resolve conflict with peers and staff.  

Keeley Stephenson – Drive Forward, MyBnk and Leap Confronting Conflict

Keeley (24) uses her knowledge and personal experience of the care system to educate both young people and adults. She has written a handbook for foster carers, and is driven to improve the lives of others. Keeley plays an integral part in Leap’s Young People in Care Programme (Under our Roof), assisting in curriculum development and shaping strategic thinking and direction on the advisory panel.

Talia Kensit – Youth Realities

Talia (22 years old) has been working to support young people since 2017 when she founded Youth Realities - a youth-led organisation tackling teenage relationship abuse on Barnet’s biggest housing estate. She has established a number of weekly support and empowerment sessions for young women who have suffered relationship abuse, and for young men who have been marginalised. 

Timon Dixon – Youth Futures

Timon (25) works with young people attending a youth-led organisation in Southwark, supporting them with conflict at school, at home, and in their communities. Brought up on a council estate in Brixton where gang and drug activity were commonplace, Timon paved an alternative, more positive path for himself and uses this experience to mentor young men and women in South London.


Congratulations to all of the above for making this year’s shortlist. The winner for each category will be announced at Lighting the Fire Awards evening on Thursday 23 May. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram pages for more information about the shortlist, and for live coverage on the night.




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