Growing up on a rough estate in London is not ideal for youngsters who really want to make something of their lives; alcohol and drug abuse, crime and violence can occur on a daily basis.
However, Liam from the Phipps Bridge Estate, Mitcham in the south west London borough of Merton, was given the opportunities to do better in life and he took them when he joined the local youth centre, realising the positivity of it right away.
“I grew up in an estate surrounded by druggies and alcoholics,” said Liam. “It was easy to fall into the bad things happening and that is why it was so good to have youth workers around the estates trying their best to help young people and by bringing them into their centres.
“They are good at the job they do and that’s what it is so motivating because you can see people from these estates doing good things.”
With the continued support and help from friends, youth workers and boxing charity Fight 4 Change he also began to attend the gym regularly at the headquarters of Fight 4 Change, which helped shape his confidence both physically and mentally.
“It gave us something extra to look forward to,” said Liam. “Adam (F4C coach) also grew up on an estate like where we were from and was around violence, drug and alcohol abuse too so he knew exactly where we were coming from and what it was like.”
The fact that Liam and the other young people who attend the sessions, can relate to the Fight 4 Change coaches and mentors is crucial.
Liam now has a job with Corebuild, a building and construction firm who specialise in the modernisation, refurbishment and renovation of period properties in London and Surrey.
Through their network, Fight 4 Change partnered up with Corebuild to offer Liam an apprenticeship with them in conjunction with the young coach studying hard at college to become an electrician.
“It makes me realise that life is too short to give up just because it gets a bit hard.”
”I know Adam and the kids he is training at the gym,” said Alex Connelly, Manager of Corebuild. “The way he pushes the young people forward is amazing and that was the case with Liam as well.
“When Adam asked if I had some work Liam could do I said yes and in the end it has led to this formal apprenticeship.
“The commitment from the coaches and young people at Fight for Change is 100% – as long as their commitment is great we will help them and try and get the best out of them.”