Martha Lane Fox founded Antigone in 2007. Antigone works with a small number of charities each year, learning more about the needs of socially excluded people so that we can help promote their successes to ministers and the press. We work in alliance with a number of other funders, organisations and people to make these changes happen and are keen to promote areas of philanthropy and activism that are currently unfashionable and underfunded.

Antigone is closed for any further grant applications for the remainder of 2013.

Leap confronting conflict press release - response to London riots

Youth charities urge decision makers not to make hasty judgements.

Leading experts in youth and conflict insist that the voices of young people are heard as part of the response to the recent violence.

Leap Confronting Conflict and Khulisa were dismayed to watch the riots across the UK unfold. It is too soon for anyone to claim they understand what caused this violence. They run the risk of false conclusions and poor decisions.

We urge everyone not to rush to judge, condemn or excuse people. It is clear that there has been widespread criminal behaviour but simply stating this adds very little to anyone’s ability to understand its causes, nor will it help us to find lasting solutions.

There is also a rush to identify a particular group of perpetrators, but it has clearly not been a homogenous group – and it has not just been young people. It is a mistake to write all young people off simply because of the behaviour of those involved.

Seeking to understand why events have happened is not the same as seeking to justify them.

We are experts in facilitating the process of understanding the causes of conflict, and in avoiding further conflict. Our preventative and restorative work with young people to understand and manage conflict is more important than ever.

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive of Leap, says “There is an urgent need to communicate with young people, and we can facilitate this dialogue. We need to speak to and listen to people who have participated in the riots. They will need help to understand why they got involved and what the implications are, for them and for our communities.”

Equally, we will develop the voices of those who actively chose not to get involved. We want to support them to speak out and inspire others with their stories. Their authentic voices will be most listened to by the young people we need to reach.

We have immediately begun dialogue with young people, our expert trainers, and with sector partners to draw together our response to events.

With the support of Trust for London, we have already begun to harness the collective expertise and knowledge of 11 organisations in the criminal justice and youth sectors to draw up a constructive and sustainable response that is not informed by a knee-jerk reaction. This will make best use of the available expertise and avoids duplication.


Notes to editors

  1. To speak to a young person or a Leap spokesperson, please call 020 7561 3700 or email

  2. We call on other organisations working in the criminal justice and youth sectors to join us in this work. Please contact us as above. Supporting organisations involved so far include London Youth, Foyer Federation, Street League, NCVYS, Brook, UK Youth, Talk for a Change, Beyond Youth, and Kaizen Partnership.

  3. Leap Confronting Conflict (Leap) works nationally with young people aged 13-21, helping them to understand, manage and resolve the everyday conflict in their lives, and empowering them to become role models and leaders of positive change. Our vision is of a world where Leap is no longer needed – a nation where young people take the lead in constructively managing conflict in their communities.

  4. Khulisa UK is the independent arm of the very successful Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative in South Africa and was created in the UK to reduce UK offender and re-offending rates, cutting the costs and impact of crime and imprisonment, delivering a nation-wide reach of our dynamic research-backed behaviour change programmes, and sustaining positive change and promoting community cohesion through education and social regeneration projects.

  5. Trust for London is a charitable organisation that exists to reduce poverty and inequality in London.
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