Paul Bogle

I grew up in New Addington for most of my life and lived in a single parent household with my mum and two brothers. I attended Castle Hill primary school before moving on to Selsdon High School, where I started making friends from Croydon and its surrounding areas like Thornton Heath and Norwood. I was popular among my peers growing up and was known for my humour and unique creativity, with both being things I was known for from a young age.

During my High School years I saw my friends get involved in a lot of the things that I knew could land them in trouble, whether it be selling drugs, petty robberies, or smoking. I stayed away from these things, I don’t know if this was because of the strict up bringing I had received from my mum and the thought in the back of my head of not wanting to disappoint her.

I had a lot of friends from different areas growing up, so I became a neutral figure who was not associated with a specific area or gang. I believe this might have been because I have always had a strong character and did not fit into the social norms at that time. For example I was into Japanese anime, skateboarding and graphic design, but also had friends heavily involved in what you could call gang activities but, at that time, we would have just called our friendship group.

I attended a vocational studies program during my GCSE year of school every Friday at Croydon college. This program was offered to more practical 'hands on' students, and enabled us to obtain a qualification in plumbing, carpentry, motor vehicle mechanics and various other courses. This is where I made friends with young people my age that were attending PRUs or had been excluded from school. During this year is when I first had a personal experience with knife crime when a fellow pupil, someone I had become friends with, was stabbed and was not no longer able to attend the course due to his injuries. The majority of friends I made during my time at Croydon college would later on go on to sadly end up in young offender’s institutes within a few years of us finishing school.

I attended many colleges after finishing school, including John Ruskin, Carshalton college and North East Surrey College of Technology. This was not entirely due to my behaviour, as I passed all my qualifications with a merit or distinction, but more or less my like for change. The experience I had of attending multiple colleges played a big part in allowing me to make friends from even more areas and from many walks of life. This however influenced me for a short time into taking part in things I should of not have been doing, like selling a bit of weed, as I could not live on my EMA until I got my first job and did not need to do this anymore.

Overall I feel my experiences growing up help me to understand most of the things that the young people we work with are going through, and helps me to be relatable and understand the decisions they make. In turn my experiences inform them so that they can make better life decisions and think about the possible consequences of their actions, as by comparing them to similar experiences I have had with my friends growing up I can deter young people from choosing to take part in activities that lead to them going down the wrong path.                 

I choose to work at LNK because I was presented with an opportunity to turn my creative ability (something I use in my freelance work and personal time / hobby) into a full-time job.

While working at LNK I have completed my sexual health training and had various social media bases training with industry professionals. I am also currently studying my Youth Work qualification with Jace.

Having worked at LNK for two years I have seen first-hand the importance of mentoring and the positive effects it can have on a young people's thought processes. I have seen changes in most of the young people that visit our unit on a weekly basis, whether it be their attitude towards our staff, or simply by choosing to come to us for advice about school and things they are going through in general.    

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