Adrian Tuitt has got plenty to smile about.

Hackney Gazette: Adrian, now 30, back when he was growing up in HackneyAdrian, now 30, back when he was growing up in Hackney (Image: Archant)

Ten years ago he first began to formulate the idea of Little Runners, an activities company designed to help kids escape the classroom and, in some cases, their environment.

Today he’s operating in 15 schools across London, teaching anything from football to tag rugby, and is always looking for the next group of children he can help.

But it wasn’t always easy going for Adrian.

“Where I grew up in Hackney was known as the murder mile,” says the 30-year-old.

Hackney Gazette: Adrian successfully provides 15 schools in London with sports trainingAdrian successfully provides 15 schools in London with sports training (Image: Archant)

“I’ve seen a lot, and been around a lot. To this day I have flashbacks of things that have happened and I’m glad I came out of it and I am what I am today. I’m happy.”

Adrian is quick to admit he wasn’t the model student. The former Tyssen Primary School boy struggled with academic subjects, fell in with the wrong crowd and began heading down a dangerous path. He broke away eventually, but he’s fully aware of the pressures on the kids of today.

“I think the mindset is what they struggle with,” he said. “They get caught in a crowd and think hanging around with these people is the right thing to do.”

But it’s a mindset Adrian feels he can change. He loves motivational speaking, and says his experiences mean he can understand what some children are going through.

Hackney Gazette: Adrian gearing up for a coaching sessionAdrian gearing up for a coaching session (Image: Archant)

“A lot of the issues they have is behaviour, but I think a lot of their problems come from home too, kind of a lack of a role model.

“So I talk to them about what I’ve done, what I’ve achieved, and let them know it’s possible. I love seeing kids progress. I love the fact I have kids that can’t wait for me to come in.”

But despite all his success, Adrian is yet to visit a single school in Hackney, and is setting it as his next target.

“I do want to go back to where it first started for me,” he said.

“If I can make a change to one kid in Hackney, one school, I’ll be happy. It could be an improvement in behaviour, or half a per cent better in class. Whatever it is, I’ll be happy. That means I’ll be doing something right.”

Visit to see if he can visit your school, or contact him on 3380 3648