From tough estates to TV, Martin says he now feels valued and listened to
I was born in Manchester, but moved to Bradford when I was a baby and have been here all my life.
I have some good and some bad memories of Bradford. Times have been hard and it’s been tough to get by, but I feel I’ve now come out of the bad situations and am growing up a lot more. Moving to new estates can be tough. I’ve lived on this one for nearly ten years, which was difficult at first, but eventually people start to accept you and you make friends.
When I first moved to this estate it was really hard. For the first two years people used to swear at my mum and chuck stones at my house, but when they knew we weren’t moving, we started to get on. At times it was really tough and frightening – sometimes I couldn’t walk to the end of the street without getting chased, but it got better. My first estate was like this too, with lots of segregated areas.
My journey so far has been up and down really. I’ve had lots of good experiences working with organisations, but bad times too, where I got involved with crime, went to court, and was put on orders. It was all stuff that I didn’t expect to happen and led me down a bad path, but I’ve come through it and am now just focusing on where I need to get to in life and who I need to help me get there.
I want to be an actor, so I go to acting school and do bits and bobs here and there. I also work with various organisations, and spoke at the Liberal Democrat conference a couple of years ago. I’ve also spoken at the Houses of Parliament and now I work with User Voice. Last year I spoke at the Youth Justice Board conference, which was very interesting and something I hadn’t done before. It was great to see all these people coming together and trying to see how to bring the YJB forward. I felt listened to and valued and met some really nice people.
In my acting work, I’ve done a couple of films and have been on TV a few times. I was on Daybreak and interviewed X Factor finalists in 2010.
I do feel more confident and self-assured and I’m really proud of myself. I didn’t go down a criminal path. I turned my life around. I got into acting, worked with all sorts of organisations and my family have supported me a lot. It was hard to experience what I went through, but if I hadn’t been there I wouldn’t be the better person I am today.