XLP is about creating positive futures for young people growing up on inner-city estates in London, struggling daily with issues such as family breakdown, unemployment, and educational failure, and living in areas that experience high levels of anti-social behaviour and gang violence. Every year XLP helps thousands of young people recognise their full potential. We believe positive, long-term relationships can restore a young person’s trust in people, nurture the belief that things can change and encourage them to set positive goals and work hard to achieve them.
I grew up in Canning Town, there was a lot of gang violence, the main rivalry was Canning Town and Stratford. It wasn't the best place to get caught up in as a kid, one wrong turn in Stratford and you could be in trouble.
There was nothing going on in my area, it was just hearing about people getting stabbed and gang violence. They are not nice things to hear when you're a young kid.
I first found out about XLP when I came home from school one day and I went to the football cage, we always went to the football cage after school. There were two XLP staff workers there, they introduced themselves and said they were going to be running football sessions every Monday. Having something to do, having somewhere to actually go; It wasn't just a kick-about with friends, there was meaning behind it now.
It was really feeling a part of something else in my community. Growing up as a teenager this was the first time I could say I was coming home from school and there was actually something positive happening.
I've done a few things with XLP now, and they've always given me opportunities. I've been on trips, they got me to go outside of my normal areas in London, and I went on a program called 'Ready to Work' where they bring in young people who are looking for work.
They took me through the program and the end goal was to get me a job, I actually got a job with XLP! It's kind of been a little dream of mine, growing up as a kid. It's my turn now to give back to my community.
I'm now able to show the same consistency, the same energy and the same passion that XLP showed me growing up and I'm now able to do that with young people.