Brooke Kinsella makes an appeal to raise funds for Leap Confronting Conflict, a charity which teaches young people to resolve conflict without violence.
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My 16-year-old brother, Ben,
was just walking home one night when he was singled out and stabbed.
He died in hospital later that night.
Ben was one of over 100 teenagers that died in the UK
as a result of youth violence between 2008 and 2010.
Ever since his death, my family and I
have been campaigning for an end to knife crime.
I don't want anyone else to experience the pain
and loss that we feel through losing Ben.
Josh is 19 and lives in south London.
From an early age, his parents had high hopes for him.
I was quite good at school. I was always in the top set.
Going on to secondary school,
I was still in the top set. I was a high achiever.
But he was expelled from school
after a fight just before he was due to sit his exams.
When I got kicked out I tried to apply for other schools
so I could take my GCSEs, because I was expecting very high grades.
But no other schools would accept me.
Pretty much, I found myself doing nothing, really,
just hanging around with friends that was in the same position.
I didn't really know what to do with myself
Feeling angry and rejected, Josh started to lose his way.
I found that I got really deep into gangs, street crime...
And then I started getting into mischief.
So, like, I found that I had to protect myself,
so I would have offensive weapons.
I'd be involved in a lot of fights
and I just felt like my life was going downhill.
There's a charity that understands how easily arguments
can escalate into violence, and how hard it can be for young people
to escape from this seemingly one-way track.
Leap Confronting Conflict, known to many simply as Leap, works with young people
to help them understand the causes and consequences of conflict,
teaching them ways to resolve situations without violence.
The charity runs a series of youth-led workshops,
using discussions and role-play to teach young people
about the roots of conflict and how to tackle them
in a constructive way.
So can we just get in a line?
Exercises include exploring how simple changes of language
can stop aggression.
You're going up to your neighbour's door
and you're going to start off
saying "you" in all your sentences. OK? So, one, two, three, go!
22-year-old Karl grew up in London, where he was exposed
to the reality of inner-city life.
Drugs, violence, knives, erm...
And I got caught up in a situation where I got excluded from school
and I was sent to a pupil referral unit
where I was exposed to it even more, on a wider scale.
And it kind of scared me,
to be fair, because deep down I wasn't that sort of person.
Leap works with people as young as 11, going into schools
and communities around the UK.
We're going to do this again, but use the exact same scenario
but what you're going to do is start every sentence with "I."
role-plays deal with a range of issues which can trigger anger
and explore non-violent ways to resolve them.
OK, so what was the difference for you?
I wasn't so aggressive. I was quite withdrawn.
-When it was "I" I kept calming down.
Breaking things down makes you realise
there are right and wrong choices.
The workshops have changed me, where I think a lot more
before I act.
They've made me think before I speak as well
and I kind of go through a thought process in my head
of the decisions I make - how they're going to affect myself
later on down the line, also the people around me.
Karl is now setting up his own project,
going into primary schools
and passing on his knowledge to kids in trouble
and getting them back into school.
Leap sees young people as the solution to the difficulties
communities are facing - not the problem.
This is why the charity established its Young Trainers programme,
where the most promising 18-to-25-year-olds are recruited
and trained to deliver the workshops themselves.
From the age of 12, she was a young carer for her mother
and two younger brothers.
When Jerusha was struggling to cope, a project leader at her school
suggested she try Leap.
Jerusha excelled at the Leap programme and was invited back
to join the Young Trainers scheme.
So what I see, basically, from this,
-is it gets them to start thinking about what a vicious cycle is.
'It helped me understand a lot about my own personal conflict.'
It built my confidence up, because
I never thought I'd be able to stand in front of 30 people,
telling them what to do!
It's kind of very... yeah, empowering.
In today's workshop, Jerusha is using a game to teach
the young people how to escape the cycle of violence.
The jailer with the empty chair is going to wink at a prisoner
and they're going to come and grab this seat.
Jailers, if you manage to tap them on the shoulder,
they're staying in the chair - they're not moving anywhere.
Jerusha now works as a freelance Young Trainer for Leap,
passing on what she has learnt to other young people.
OK, guys, let's call it a wrap. Well done!
These lessons empower the young people
to make positive changes to their lives.
What would you say to someone who kept on trying to escape
-but never did?
Try harder? Give up? So why would you say try harder and why would...
The charity knows those who work with young people directly
can make the biggest impact.
So Leap works with police officers, teachers and youth workers
in the most troubled parts of the UK,
training them to tackle the causes of knife crime.
These programmes can make a real difference.
From 2009, the charity provided training
to Strathclyde Police around gangs
and in the next year, violent crime in that area was almost halved.
What would happen if we just stayed where we are?
For the past three years,
Leap has reached over 20,000 young people like Josh.
I've come to see how he has been getting on
since finishing the Youth Conflict programme.
Two, three years ago, I was living a quite rough lifestyle.
Now I've started my own business.
It's in the clubbing industry and it's running very well now.
I recently passed an electrician's course,
so I'm a fully qualified electrician
and I'm self-employed and I'm getting paid work from Leap.
So you're obviously in a really good place now.
Where do you think you would be if Leap hadn't come along
and helped you?
I could have been dead. I could have been in jail.
Leap has been changing young people's lives for 25 years
and we need this work to continue.
As someone who has personally experienced the tragic consequences
of youth violence, I am asking you to donate to this appeal.
By giving more young people the opportunity to learn
that violence is not the only option,
your donation could help prevent more young lives being lost.
Please donate, by going to the website:
If you don't have access to the internet, please call:
If the lines are busy, please, please keep trying.
Calls are free from most landlines.
Some networks and mobile operators
will charge for these calls.
If you'd like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to
"Leap Confronting Conflict"
and send it to:
Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,
the charity can collect Gift Aid
on your donation, worth another 25%.
Just send a note, to say you want
your donation to be subject
to Gift Aid, and include the date,
your full name and address.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Ex-EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella makes an emotional appeal to raise funds for Leap Confronting Conflict, a charity which teaches young people how to resolve conflict without resorting to violence. It is a cause close to her heart, since her younger brother Ben Kinsella was murdered in London three years ago, a victim of the capital's knife crime. Ben was just walking home one night when he was singled out and stabbed; he died in hospital that night. He was one of over 100 teenagers that died as a result of youth violence between 2008 and 2010. Brooke meets Josh, a young man who turned away from gang life and is now a successful entrepreneur, thanks to the help of Leap.