A writer is challenging negative perceptions of where he grew up, setting out to make the neighbours of St Raphael’s Estate proud.
Brent -based author Andre Anderson, who lives on the Neasden estate which is currently under police scrutiny after being declared a dispersal zone in July, has been funded to explore perceptions of his area as a part of a book called Authors of the Estate.
He said: “St Raphael’s Estate has always been seen in a very negative light and this has not only affected the way outsiders see us but how we view ourselves.
“Teenagers on this estate feel there is no hope, resulting in a lot of youth crime.”
Mr Anderson attended Wembley High Technology College, in East Lane, North Wembley, and when he is not writing, works as a graphic designer.
He added: “The estate is full of young people who are full of potential.
“My idea is to gather the amazing storytellers of this estate and show them their great skill and creativity should not be wasted, and instead, used to artistic greatness by creating an anthology the area can be proud of.”
The 22-year-old is one of the many young storytellers being brought together to contribute towards the book, sponsored by international coffee house chain Starbucks and supported by charity UK Youth, which will be published in October.
The programme, called Starbucks Youth Action, is now in its fourth year and is aimed at those aged 16 to 24 across England, Scotland and Wales.
Dominic Cotton, chief executive of UK Youth, said: “We were incredibly impressed by Andre’s proposal and by the quality of projects we’re seeing through Starbucks Youth Action.
“Many of them focus on the importance of cultural empathy, understanding and togetherness. Young people are clearly reflecting on the issues facing their communities and concluding that unity is the key to bringing social change.”
Simon Redfern, European corporate affairs director at Starbucks, said: “Andre’s vision to help the young people on his estate see the possibility in themselves and those around them is truly inspirational.
“His project is a shining example of how young people can inspire each other to take action against crime and violence and celebrate each other’s achievements.
“We’re excited to be working with Andre and other extraordinary young people through Starbucks Youth Action this summer.”