Ambassador : The Wordsmith – Suli Breaks
Of Ghanaian descent, Suli Breaks was born and bred in London, United Kingdom. Growing up in one of the roughest parts of North London, Wood Green surrounded by poverty, drugs and violence. Most, Suli included, were under the belief that education was the avenue that would lead them out of this ghetto. Striving hard to eventually graduate with a Law degree from the University of Sheffield. Suli came to realise that he was back in his original position. With little prospects of getting a job, his options were to either return to school to further his studies or find his own way in the world. Having started performing and writing poetry in his time at University he began to pursue this with a greater sense of determination and urgency.
Suli is cognisant of the realities faced by those SOS engages and is passionate about making a difference, using his craft to educate, enlighten, engage and spread the message of non-violence. SOS is proud to welcome Suli to the team.
Trustee : Jason Featherstone
Having grown up in Tottenham, he experienced many of the issues facing the youth of today in inner-city London. Unfortunately these experiences included the loss of a number of friends and a cousin to gun and knife violence. Jason can relate to those entrenched in street life and has seen first hand how destructive the lifestyle is.
In 2008 he received a commendation from the Home Office – Violent Crime Directorate and was selected for the inaugural Bravehearts program. Between 2010 – 2011 Jason visited Cure Violence, a pioneering gang violence prevention project and undertook training with a view to replicating the model’s documented success in London. The journey that led to the establishment of Surviving Our Streets has been an immense one. A firm believer in all things happening for a reason, Jason is looking forward to working with the team to create innovative programs founded on enterprise to help those involved in street violence see that there is another way.
Trustee : Patrick Vickers
Patrick graduated from Warwick with a 2(i) in Law in 1999 and a year later with a master’s degree in International Economic Law. The subsequent 10 years were spent on trading floors in the City and on Wall Street as a career at Goldman Sachs blossomed both in London and New York.
It wasn’t until he met Jason in 2007 at a Mixed Martials Gym that he began to think about his previous legal training and in 2011 Patrick decided to leave the City to pursue more rewarding enterprises.
It was while reading the Department of Justice report on the Cease Fire Project and seeing empirical results backing up this ground breaking model that both his intellectual and social interest was piqued.
More recently the world of Mixed Martial Arts has become the focus and Patrick has now had 5 professional fights. Driven by a desire to add something to his local community Patrick has joined forces with the rest of the team to help those that need to navigate London’s streets.
Trustee : Graham Boylan
Graham Boylan arrived in London at the age of 19 with £50 and a bag of clothes. Within two weeks of arriving all that was left was the bag of clothes. It was decision time go home to Ireland or get to work and chase the dream. Graham spent 10 years in Hackney, Tottenham, Walthamstow living in house shares across the boroughs.
The Director of Europe’s biggest MMA promotion Cage Warriors which is LIVE on Tv across the world & boasts a 2012 World Tour of 17 shows in 13 different countries. Graham has seen & experienced first hand the damage caused by street crime/violence in his time, ” my cousin was shot dead over a stupid argument, I know the after affects that has on a family “.
Together with Jason and Patrick, Graham has come on board to give something back to the teenagers growing up in London. “I was a kid growing up in London I thought I knew it all but i knew nothing, I wish I had a mentor back then”. Ask Graham what he thinks of London ? ” London can make or break you, you can make anything happen in London with the right attitude “.
Research / Evaluation : Dr. Daniel Silverstone
Dr Daniel Silverstone graduated from the London School of Economics as an undergraduate and postgraduate. He has worked as an academic at Portsmouth, Westminster, Sussex and London Metropolitan Universities.
Currently the academic leader for criminology and head of the John Grieve centre at London Metropolitan, Daniel has written and researched widely on the subjects of organised crime and ‘gang’ violence.
During his time working on a Home Office sponsored project on the use of and market in, illegal firearms he visited numerous prisoners and developed an interest in helping those who were both victims and perpetrators of this kind of violence. Motivated by the vision of those involved in Surviving Our Streets, Daniel hopes his expertise can inject rigour and insight into this valuable intervention.
Program Development : Nathaniel Peat
Nathaniel is the founder of The Safety Box, a multi-award winning social enterprise and internationally recognised youth serviceprovider.
Nathaniel is a regular media commentator on gangs, knife/gun crime and youth base topics and gives opinions to newspapers, radio and national TV. He has advised both the Government and the Police on several youth related issues.
Having grown up in a very troubled part of Tottenham, he is well-aware and cognizant of the difficulties facing young people in inner city urban areas, with many of his friends killed through knife and gun crime, his motivation has been to dedicate several years into making a difference in inner-city communities and his company has impacted over 7000 young people and motivated countless vulnerable adults by helping them to gain employment and start businesses.
Nathaniel has almost 26 years’ experience in martial arts (Okinawa Goju-Ryu/Ju-Jitsu), and has taught several members of the police, security organisations, self-defence specialists, and members of the public alike. A valuable member of the SOS Team.