"At the age of five, I had an accident that left me physically branded by burns. It was a traumatic thing to experience at such a young age. Kids were nasty to me at school and it meant I developed a defensive and violent anger problem.

"I was kicked out of two primary schools and as many secondary schools. It was the same story at home and for a while my mum would kick me out and I’d come back, she’d kick me out and I’d come back. Then at aged 13 I was out for good.

"I lived on the streets, and sofa-surfed with family and friends. I was then put into temporary accommodation when I was 16. It was a really tough time and although I had my own flat and a place at college, I got drawn into gang life as I was comforted by the camaraderie and sense of belonging it gave me.

I knew this culture was wrong and I got a criminal record, but I had been on my own for so long, it was like a family to me and I had no-one to steer me away. It wasn’t until a group of lads tried to stab me that I realised I needed to get out. I had to fight my way out, but I was very, very lucky.

"When I became a father, my outlook changed. I did a week-long theatre course with The Prince’s Trust at the Birmingham Rep Theatre and I started to realise there was something else I wanted for myself. I managed to get a job at the theatre at the end of the course, and then went on to work at the National Citizen Service. I began working with other young people and started to understand the difference I could make to their futures.

I work now as a youth worker and a motivational speaker, deterring others from joining gangs or turning to violence. By sharing my lived experience and the things I’ve been through, young people can relate to me. I tell them about my life, I show them the scars and they can see their life heading in the same direction. But then they can also see where I am now.

"Some of the things they get involved in can be so detrimental to their life and their mindset. But by being a positive voice for them, and mentoring them in the right way, I’m able to make them see that they can achieve greatness. By focusing on themselves and what they’re doing, they can truly get to where they want to be in life – it’s very, very important."