More role-models needed to tackle youth violence, says motivational speaker
- Credit: Adrian Tuitt
A born and bred Hackney motivational speaker has spoken out about youth violence and the challenges young people face in the wake of the pandemic.
Adrian Tuitt is a motivational speaker who runs the coaching company, The Little Runners Sports in Schools.
The former Tyssen Primary School boy, who now lives in Ilford, struggled at school when he was younger and fell in with the wrong crowd.
However, Adrian broke away from the dangerous path he was headed down and now gives talks to young people in schools.
He told the Gazette: “One thing [students] speak about, especially since lockdown, is that there is nothing out there for them and they don’t feel they can achieve the things they want to achieve.”
Adrian says feelings of hopelessness about the future can make the idea of joining a gang attractive to young boys, especially, as it offers a way to make money, gain status and feel part of a family.
“But they don’t understand the consequences of being part of a gang,” he said.
“[It] can lead to a lot of bad stuff happening in the long run, because once you’re in it's hard to get out, especially when your making money for someone else – you’re under their rulebook.”
The motivational speaker says the pandemic has exacerbated negative feelings.
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Adding: “[Pupils] have been out of school for so long and there is a real lack of motivation.
“I remember, there was a school that wanted to do a talk before the lockdown happened because the year 11s were going to do their exams and they were saying: ‘What is the point in doing our exams? It’s lockdown, what are we going to do? What jobs can we get. No-one’s getting jobs [and] my family’s on furlough’.”
But Adrian believes his talks can have a positive impact and that young people need to more role-models to look up to, especially as the victims and perpetrators of violent crimes “are getting younger”.
So far this year, 12 teenagers have been killed in London and official crime figures show more than a quarter of all knife and offensive weapons offences registered in 2020 involved people under 18.
Almost a thousand teenagers between the ages of 16-18, and 744 children aged 10-15, were convicted of knife offences last year.