Lighting the Fire 2018 - meet the winners

Income and External Affairs Team
Friday 25th May 2018

Lighting the Fire, the UK’s national youth conflict awards, celebrates the individuals and projects supporting young people with conflict in their lives across the UK.

This year we received an overwhelming response to the awards and had a record number of nominations coming in to recognise the amazing work being done across the youth sector.

Around 200 people attended the awards ceremony on the 23rd of May hosted by Leap graduates, Junior and Hasna. We heard moving and uplifting speeches from Leap Graduate Jamal Khan, Project Worker Alex McKell and Leap CEO Thomas Lawson. Guests also had the chance to experience a demonstration of Leap’s training that was designed and delivered by young people and young trainers. 

The awards were made possible by our two generous supporters - Old Mutual Global Investors and Bloomberg. 

Meet the 2018 winners:

Young Leader

Michael is a social activist who is passionate about empowering young people to be change makers both in their local community and globally. He is involved in a range of projects including as a young trustee for Plan International and sitting on the government’s Youth Select Committee to talk about young people’s mental health and the pressures surrounding body image. Following the passing of his father, he has worked alongside young people teaching them to code and develop an app to diagnose and monitor Parkinson’s disease. This app should be launched later this year depending on the outcome of negotiations with governments and pharmaceutical companies.

Inspirational Adult

In March 2015, Jenni launched the Jenni Steele Foundation, an organisation that creates opportunities for the next generation of leaders through strong networks and mentoring. She is also the founder and project manager of the YANA project (You Never Walk Alone), a project in Lambeth that works with young people who have been directly affected by gang related violence, sexual grooming, exploitation, domestic violence and abuse. She is one of very few qualified trained Young Persons Independent Domestic Violence Advisors in London.



United Borders was started by Justin Finlayson in August 2017 as a way of uniting young people from two rival gangs in Brent, after he witnessed the murder of two young people on his old estate. The project is delivered in a double-decker bus, which the team park on gang lines before encouraging young people to get on board and take part. The focus of the project is music with the upper deck converted into a classroom and professional music studio. Young people from rival estates are encouraged to work on and produce music together and over time build resilience, learn how to avoid risky behaviours, think beyond their gang lines and start to engage with other opportunities.  

Leap Young Leader

Each year Leap trainers, trustees and staff nominate young people involved with Leap Confronting Conflict who have become role models and leaders for others:

Highly commended - Khaleel Williams 

Khaleel continually rises to every challenge set before him and surpassed expectations. His unknowingly humorous nature and humble demeanor speak volumes of his character and have made it a pleasure to work with him. He stands out for his consistency, reliability and commitment to the cause. Sometimes it’s not big actions that make people leaders, but the way in which they lead themselves. His support for his peers and those around him make him a prime example of someone who is slowly but surely changing the world around him

Winner - Courtney Tomlinson

When he had the opportunity to meet the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, Courtney used it to speak openly about growing up in an environment that constantly challenges his positive decisions and how this has impacted on him and his friends, alongside the complexities of growing up as a young black man. He is a positive role model for his peers and has been a prominent figure on our Leadership & Enterprise programme. His personality shines as soon as he steps in the room and he isn't afraid of putting forward his opinions that may challenge others to think about their actions. He is a confident and open young man and as a result, the people close to him value his leadership and hold him in high regard.

A big thank you to everyone who attended and supported us to run this event. To see highlights from the event and keep up to date with Leap’s work follow us on Twitter and Instagram on @leap_cc

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