"I want people to walk around the new area and feel safer and more positive."
I have lived on the York Road estate for almost my whole life, but my Grandma lived in the same block as us for 10 years before my family moved in next door.
My Mum and her 10 siblings saw a grittier side to the estate when they were growing up here, so I think she has been a lot more protective of me. I grew up going to the local youth centres where I got to know other young people from the estate, and I particularly enjoyed playing table tennis and being part of the Providence House football team.
My real passion is music and I try to encourage and provide a platform for other young people who are interested in the same. I host concerts and open mic sessions in Providence House, giving new artists the opportunity to showcase their music. I also successfully applied for a £20,000 grant from the Evening Standard and used it to build a brand new studio in Providence House. I now run the studio, hiring it out to young people for a small fee and mixing and mastering the artists’ vocals.
I want young people to thrive more and to not put themselves down - we’ve seen this quite a bit on the estates recently. When young people rap about dark matters in the studio, I try to show them another side through happier music.
I also hope that attitudes in the estate will change after the regeneration, due to how it will look. I want people to walk around the new area and feel safer and more positive. The Regeneration Team gave me the opportunity to document the estate as it is now, and I chose to do this in the form of a picture book. This was so there will always be a copy of how the estate is before it changes. Through this project I was linked with a mentor who gave me guidance and I found him really inspirational.
In the same way, I am trying to inspire and be a positive influence on my friends – I have helped some to take up video blogging, make recordings and take photographs. I was recently asked to speak about the work I have done and intend to do at a House of Commons event for young entrepreneurs sponsored by Jane Ellison on behalf of Battersea Arts Centre. I was really happy to do this as BAC was where I started my business, when they gave me my first grant.
I was also honoured to speak on the TV channel London Live about the voluntary work I do with the Jimmy Asher Foundation where I host a radio show and debate about relevant news stories from a young person’s point of view. The charity opened up many opportunities for me, and I hope that I can positively impact the lives of other young people in a similar way.
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