Search

Post People: Foodbank founder fights youth crime in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 14:59 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:59 18 May 2017

Obi, left, with partner John Eames at the new Barking boxing club Picture: Light House

Obi, left, with partner John Eames at the new Barking boxing club Picture: Light House

Archant

Foodbank founder Obi Onyeabor, 44, tells Sebastian Murphy-Bates about his latest venture to help young people off the streets and into the workplace

“My position has always been that the more support communities offer the stronger they become.

“When I realised the scale of stabings, crime and drug problems around me it made me want to reach out to the young people involved. But it’s not just about getting kids off the streets – they have to change the way they view themselves.

“That’s why my project, Light House, will be launched at 11 am on Saturday, June 3 at the old Abbey Sports Centre in St Paul’s Road, Barking. We’re going to be working to engage young people and reach them through boxing classes.

“The idea is to use the boxing to interact with them in the ring and on the pads, then help them with mentoring schemes. That way we can change their perceptions, specifically the way they see themselves and their community.

“Some young people who’ve been involved in crime lack confidence and find getting a job difficult. We hope to help them become employable because if they have no way of earning money they’re more likely to get back into crime. And having a job reduces the chance of reoffending by 50 per cent.

“Our Back to Work programme has been up and running since 2015. Our 14-week programme offers support from probation officers and all the skills young people need to get back into employment.

“What we have to show these kids is that they’re wasting their lives on crime. It’s easy for us to give up on them because we feel they’re difficult. But I believe we can reach them. If we can reach people who are difficult to reach then they can help reach other people like them.

“I’ve ran a foodbank at the same sports centre since 2012. Since then we’ve expanded to offer cooking facilities for the homeless, where they can come and cook donated food or bring their own along, and we also run a clothes bank here.

“Anybody interested in our services can call me on 07507 648 948.”

Related articles

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

Dogged and determined, the Hammers silenced Arsenal’s big guns to share the spoils at London Stadium, where David Moyes’ influence again cast its shadow across a West Ham United side that frustrated and flummoxed Arséne Wenger’s team.

Yesterday, 15:00

Dagenham & Redbridge under-18s have signed Tower Hamlets youngster Briggs Ojemen this week.

Yesterday, 16:35

Hundreds of teenagers heard tales from the working world at a special careers fair.

Yesterday, 16:17

Council tax bills are set to rise and street cleaning could be cut back as the town hall tightens its belt to save £63million by 2021.

Yesterday, 14:38

A Dagenham car thief who caused a crash that left three people with life-changing injuries as he fled the scene of a burglary has been jailed for seven years.

Yesterday, 14:09

Pet owners in Dagenham are being taught how to make a dog’s dinner of their Christmas grub.

Yesterday, 12:00

A group of aspiring lawyers from Barking and Dagenham College took part in a mock murder case to develop their arguing skills.

Yesterday, 12:00

It was a few years ago at a council-staged summer event that I first heard about the idea of a youth zone in the borough.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

You don’t have to make the trek to the North Pole to get into the Christmas spirit this year.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now