Mr E Connolly – Former Headmaster St Josephs College, Beulah Hill London SE19 3HL Gaurdian Newspape

Interview Transcript.

Mr E Connolly: - “The main reason why we invited The Safety Box into the school is not only because they have a reputation for themselves, but that we feel they can emphasise with the children in our school and in within the community. We also feel that the members who deliver the program are respected by the boys, and after 1 or 2 sessions with the team, we found that the boys themselves would go out and talk about their experiences and it was almost like a cascade effect, that they were respected; and they respected the people they were talking to and therefore they would agree with their ideas and pass it on to other students.”

Harron Siddique: - “So is it something you would recommend for another school?”

Mr E Connolly: - “I think this is an excellent idea for all schools, not necessarily those schools you would think of areas within inner London but outside of London as well. I think these people actually could explain to others some of the difficulties that students face within their lives and often it’s by knowledge of this we understand the situation that these students are in. So I think this should be rolled out not just within inner City areas but throughout the country.”

 

Haroon Siddique: - “Some of what they say is pretty shocking one of the guys was an x gang member talking about his experience in prison, do you think it’s important that young men are alerted to this information?”

 

Mr E Connolly: - “I think the greatest example that this group give is that they do not sensationalise these activities that they were in the past. They actually say to the children, “this is where I have been and this is the journey I have taken to where I am now, and it gives the child the reality that I have got somebody in front of me that actually knows how I feel sometimes, that has been in a area where there are difficulties, that has been in a area where to join a gang is part of the culture of the area where you survive, and it shows them how you can break away from that and how you can seek advice from those people that can put you on a different path. So I don’t think it is shocking at all and I think we under estimate what the children themselves have experienced in their own lives.”