“You’d see people getting stabbed. You’d see people getting robbed for their belongings.”
In 2010, aged 14, Yousef El Tawil, felt “swept into a vortex of pessimism”.
At the end of Year 9, instead of heading home after school to do his homework each day, he fell in with classmates who spent hours hanging around the chicken shops on his local High Street, in Newham, east London.
They weren’t bad people, he says, “it’s just we lacked a certain motivation, we lacked aspirations”.