Leapfrog’s collection of creative and effective communication tools, designed to give young people a voice in decision-​making, has won the award for ‘The Inspirer’ newspaper which was developed in partnership with Child Action North West and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

This youth-​led and selected award recognises new ideas and practices that have made a real difference to how organisations work with young people. The innovation award reflects the fresh approach taken by Leapfrog, and the incredible work their young designers, project partners and team put into the work. In 2016, the Leapfrog project at Lancaster University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council supported young people to design new ways to address some of the challenges they face. This ‘toolbox’ is now available for free at http://​leapfrog​.tools/​t​o​o​l​b​o​x​/​w​o​r​k​i​n​g​-​w​i​t​h​-​y​o​u​n​g​-​p​e​o​p​le/

With names such as Topic Tally, Target Control and Sound Advice, the tools offer a new approach to help young people express themselves in ways that fit with the way they think and develop ideas. Each tool responds to a real experience or problem young people — and people working with them — face. The tools help them to express their opinions and influence change about decisions that affect their lives. The tools are readily adaptable. They work straight out of the box but can be easily adapted and remixed to match ever-​changing contexts and people. Already people, professionals and young people, using the tools have seen the real, practical difference the Leapfrog approach has made. They have been used to mediate incredibly difficult discussions, reach out to young people trapped in the care system and to empower them.

Christy Walsh, Resource Development manager for CANW said:The group, who were either young carers or children in care, were able to work within a higher education setting with professionals and create a legacy that will benefit not only themselves but children and young people across the country. The award enables our young people to receive the prestige they rightfully deserve.”

Professor Leon Cruickshank, of Lancaster University, said:Leapfrog are delighted that the efforts of our partners, young designers, Leapfrog team and our facilitator have been recognised. The project was selected and judged by young people to be inspiring which is testament to the creativity of the project and the quality of the research. These tools have already been used to give hundreds of young people in Lancashire and beyond a voice in decision-​making.”