Conflict is an inevitable part of life, both in our face-to-face and our online interactions.  If managed constructively, it is possible to result in better understanding and greater tolerance and avoid the the harmful consequences for young people, for example relationship breakdowns, distress, anxiety and physical violence. CRESST believes that young people can be empowered with the skills to do conflict well.

We work with young people, staff and parents in schools and other youth and educational settings to develop their skills to respond to conflict constructively and reduce the harm it causes. We have a menu of workshops to meet the needs of all elements of the educational community. These can be delivered individually or as whole-systems approach. All training is tailored to meet the specific needs of those attending.

Doing conflict well – our vision and principles

CRESST does not aim to reduce conflict, but instead acknowledges that it is a natural and frequent part of daily life. If conflict is managed well, it can lead to deeper understanding, greater tolerance and more creative outcomes. If it is not managed well, it can lead to pain and suffering, including aggression and violence.

Our work:

Enables young people to learn and then use the concepts, awareness and skills to manage conflict constructively

Is seen by young people as relevant and useful to them

Is highly participative and promotes learning through activity and engagement

Draws on best practice nationally and globally as well as CRESST’s own experience to design and deliver high quality training and support

Provides schools and other young people’s organisations with the skills and theory to enable adults to model effective conflict resolution

Encourages schools and other organisations to support young people taking responsibility for managing disputes and difficult conversations

Stays open to feedback, curious about young people’s lived experience, responsive to new situations

Seeks to collaborate with all possible partners

For more information about what we do please click on the links below

Our programmes

Young Peacemakers Project
CRESST’s whole school approach for primary schools which includes pupil and staff training in conflict resolution skills and approaches, supporting schools recruiting volunteer mediators and then setting up a sustainable mediation scheme to work in school. CRESST undertakes evaluation visits of each school we have worked in to produce a case study demonstrating impact. Our annual Peer Mediation Conference at the University in January brings active schools together with a celebration day for the volunteer mediators.

Youth Resolving Conflict
Working in secondary and special schools, CRESST provides whole year group training for young students, staff training in conflict resolution, mediation skills and restorative approaches, and provides all the necessary support and training for establishing a sustainable student-led mediation scheme with older student volunteers. CRESST can stay involves to evaluate the impact of the scheme and provide links to further development opportunities.

Restorative Approaches
CRESST is providing more and more training in using restorative approaches with schools, alternative education providers and youth organisations. An initial one-day training provides the introduction and organisations can then decide to develop the practice in various ways to suit their organisation’s needs. This training is delivered by our Programme Director who has an MA in Restorative Justice, is a qualified facilitator and has 4 years’ experience running panels with victims and offenders.

Adult Training
CRESST delivers a range of adult training programmes throughout the year. These include introductory days for those wanting to explore conflict resolution skills and their relevance to education settings and work with young people, skills training for Peer Mediator Coordinators in primary schools, training in communication skills for staff in secondary schools, workshops for parents, a session for Governors, and more. CRESST can also (and regularly does) offer bespoke training for organisations in mediation skills, restorative approaches and conflict resolution skills and techniques for working with young people.

Our history

In 2001 Eric Mackerness left Sheffield Central Preparative Meeting a sizeable legacy. After a careful decision making process the Meeting decided to fund a proposed project which eventually turned into CRESST.

The project was given funds for a five year programme aiming to develop conflict resolution and peer mediation in a sustainable way in 10 Sheffield schools. Peer mediation involves children being trained to mediate disputes between other children. Following a feasibility study, Meeting gave formal approval to the project in February 2003 and agreed its terms of reference. The project has been run by a committee of 12 which includes both Quakers and others.

The committee appointed Cheryl Smart as the Project Co-ordinator in November 2003 and a half time Project Administrator in May 2004. Following a period of development schools were recruited in June 2004 and work began in September 2004.

Since 2004 CRESST has established a strong reputation in Sheffield and beyond, delivering conflict resolution training in over 60 schools and other youth organisations. We have grown significantly since 2014, having achieved three years’ funding to launch a new project with secondary schools. CRESST has now trained over 1,000 young mediators. We estimate that the total number for children and young people who have learnt and practiced conflict resolution skills as a result of CRESST’s support is now between 2,000 and 3,000.

Partner organisations

CRESST works closely with the following organisations:

Peer Mediation Network 

The Peer Mediation Network brings together conflict resolution practitioners and educators committed to promoting peer mediation in schools and the wider community. CRESST has adopted its guidelines for best practice as our standard.

Learn Sheffield

Through Learn Sheffield, we will be offering workshops for Governors and briefings at gatherings of headteachers.

Sheffield University

CRESST provide long-term placements for university students on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood course, as well as shorter volunteer projects for university students. We also hold our annual Peer Mediators Conference in the University Student’s Union, providing a link for many Sheffield primary schools. We are fortunate to now have Tim Herrick, the course leader, as one of our Trustees.

Sheffield Hallam University

Trainee Sociology, Religious Education and PSHE teachers received a CRESST workshop on Peace Education. We also consult with the university regularly to discuss social media and student training and volunteering partnerships.

PeaceJam UK

All CRESST schools are encouraged to register their mediation and conflict resolution projects as part of PeaceJam’s One Billion Acts of Peace project. This can include attending the hugely inspiring PeaceJam UK conference, to be mentored by one of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in how to make a genuine difference in the world. CRESST delivered a mediation workshop for young people at this conference.

Our funders

In addition to our local fundraising activities and individual donations, we are very grateful to have received grant funding from the following charitable trusts:

Dundee Friends Charitable Trust

Edith M Ellis 1985 Charitable Trust

JG Graves Charitable Trust

Ganton Educational Trust

Garfield Weston Foundation

Mollie Croysdale Charitable Trust

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Sheffield Grammar School Exhibition Foundation

Sheffield Town Trust

The Brelms Trust

United Way – Give Local

Westcroft Trust

W F Southall Trust

We would also like to thank the very kind people at DFS Sheffield who support us by allowing us to park in their car park.

Who we are

Meet our staff

Carolyn Leary

Carolyn is our Programme Director and brings together relevant experience from years working as a lead trainer with schools for national educational bodies, combined with many years in Sheffield leading partnership working in children’s services, 7 years a Chair of Governors of a secondary school and a Masters degree in Restorative Justice with many years practice facilitating community restorative justice panels.

 Joseph  Desforges

Joseph joined CRESST in August 2018 as the Programme Manager.

 Ruth Dawson

Ruth is the Office Manager and works behind the scenes to keep the administration and accounts running smoothly. Ruth joined for a two week project in 2011 and hasn’t yet been able to tear herself away. She also supports the Programme Director with the preparation of teaching resources and assists with fundraising applications.

Meet our freelance staff

Imran Ali


Kim Balmer


Kim is one of our freelance trainers and our primary lead trainer. Kim is a qualified and experienced primary school teacher and also has extensive experience supporting people who face complex difficulties, struggle with anger management and are caught up in the criminal justice system. Kim has degrees in education, psychology and criminology, exploring restorative justice issues as part of one of her MAs.

Stephanie Briggs



Rosie Carnall

Rosie has been involved with CRESST since the very beginning and joined as a freelance trainer in 2016. She is a qualified mediator and has worked previously in schools, victim offender mediation, restorative justice, youth homelessness, family group conferencing and family mediation. Rosie was a member of the Mediation UK Restorative Justice training team and the Action for Children organisational change facilitators’ team.



Hilary Jones


Rachel Newman

Rachel was delighted to join CRESST in 2015 as a trainer. Her background is theatre and has over 20 years of experience delivering creative educational and community-based projects. As well working for CRESST, Rachel runs Sheffield-based Growtheatre CIC and lectures at Sheffield Hallam University.

Jenny Owen

Jenny has many years’ of experience in teaching Philosophy and RE, most recently at a sixth form college in Rotherham. She is also an OCN accredited mediator. We are fortunate that Jenny’s experience and interest in conflict resolution and Non-Violent Communication has brought her to CRESST.

Lloyd Samuels

Lloyd has been delivering conflict resolution workshops to young people for over eight years and has worked in over 30 secondary schools in the UK and Europe.

Keith Stewart



Volunteers and student placements

From time to time we have the extra help and experience of volunteers and education students from the University of Sheffield. We are also still very much in touch with Cheryl Smart and Ellis Brooks, former Project Managers, who continue to give us their knowledge and support.

Friends of CRESST

We are very fortunate to have a dedicated group of supporters who organise regular fundraising events for us. Recent successful events include the popular cake and book sales and an annual plant sale with delicious cream teas.

If you would like to join Friends of CRESST to support our work through local fundraising then please contact the CRESST office who can put you in touch with this friendly group.

Meet our Trustees

We currently have 10 trustees with a wide range of experience and expertise. Our trustees are responsible for guiding us strategically and making sure that the money we raise is used in the best possible way to support our purpose and principles.

Alison Warner (Chair)
Alison joined CRESST as a trustee in November 2009. She is a former Pastoral Deputy Head, a school governor, is active in the Sheffield Association of School Governing Bodies (SASGB) and National Governors Association as well as being a qualified human resources professional.

Celia Alcock
Celia is currently Assistant Principal Science and STEM at Shirebrook Academy in Derbyshire. Having worked at three secondary schools over eleven years she has seen the effect of conflict between young people first hand and the effect it has on the outcome of these young people both on a personal level and an academic level. Celia believes passionately about empowering young people to develop the skills to help them manage conflict and take control of their responses; skills which will stay with them for life.

 Sheila Broadhead (Treasurer)
Our treasurer, Sheila, is an ACCA qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience of working in accounts with charities and voluntary groups throughout Sheffield. Sheila was attracted to working with CRESST because she has always enjoyed engaging with third sector organisations. She also has a strongly held belief in nurturing children to be able to deal with the challenges that life throws at them, not only in childhood, but also into the future.

Margaret Edmonds
A trustee since 2006, Maggie was a teacher, mostly in Nursery or Reception, until 2008 when she retired.
Maggie also helps with Friends of CRESST doing some very valuable fundraising – organising plant sales, book sales or baking cakes to sell at tea/coffee time at the Quaker Meeting House on some Sunday mornings.

Rachel Firth
Rachel is a Careers Adviser at Sheffield Hallam University. She has a background in education, with previous roles including secondary geography teacher, local authority SEN caseworker, and parent governor at a Sheffield primary school.

Kathryn Hancock
A Trustee since January 2017, Kathryn works for Citizens Advice Sheffield leading a team as part of a national advisory service helping to resolve consumer disputes. She has a professional background in Learning & Development and previously worked as a consultant for the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution helping organisations and individuals to develop the skills and capabilities to manage conflict effectively. Kathryn is also a CEDR Accredited Mediator.

Tim Herrick
Tim joined CRESST in 2016 and is a Senior University Teacher in the Department of Education at Sheffield University. Tim is a member of Sheffield Central Friends Meeting and is one of our Quaker representatives.

Loveday  Herridge
Loveday has worked in London and Sheffield in publishing, museums and education, and has been a governor in both primary and secondary schools.

Daphne Ingham
A CRESST Trustee since 2009, Daphne has worked for many years in development and strategic roles for housing associations and charities. Now a freelance consultant in in the housing, care, and support field, Daphne has expertise in the  business side of running charities and not for profit organisations, and in bidding for resources, and helps to deliver CRESST’s programme of fundraising from charitable Trusts.  Daphne  says “I enjoy the hands-on side of my Trustee role and am continually inspired and enthused by the successful work of the young Peer Mediators who learn their skills through CRESST”.

Janet Paske
Janet Paske is studying occupational therapy at Sheffield Hallam University and has spent most of her career in a range of roles in the voluntary sector. She is a member of Sheffield Central Friends Meeting and is one of our Quaker representatives.