‘How one man turned his life around to the benefit of others. The benefits of Youth and Community Work often go unrecognised and yet, as the recent civil turmoil has shown, the need for it has never been more acute. John Allan, a Community Education worker for Gateshead Council, talked to Janet H Swinney about how this long-term process of transformation works.

You wouldn’t pick John out in a crowd. Thin and pale, he’s wearing a combat jacket and the sort of edgy look of someone who constantly feels the cold. ‘What’s the big deal?’ I wonder. We’re in his cramped office on the Springwell estate, a sprawling settlement of low-rise public housing with tiny gardens, some considerably dishevelled, drinking not-very-good-coffee out of mugs that have seen better days. Candour, though, is John’s middle name: I soon revise my impressions. ‘I was a bad lad,’ he kicks off…’

To find out about John’s journey, and the role he now occupies, click here


Paperback ISBN 978-1-906451-64-6
ebook ISBN 978-1-906451-65-3

You are Here, an Anthology of Prize-winning Memoire and Journalism’, ‘Earlyworks Press’ 2012

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