This article appears in the February issue of our International Corporate Structures Newsletter.
We have pledged that throughout 2017, for every qualifying new instruction we receive, we’ll donate US$1,000 to the youth work charity XLP. (See lcnlegal.com/csr/ for details of the pledge.)
We are delighted to feature here an interview with the charity’s founder and CEO Patrick Regan OBE. Since its beginning in 1996, XLP has grown from working in a single school to working with 1,500 young people, in over 75 schools and numerous communities across London. Its current projects deal with a wide variety of issues including gang culture, anger management and violence, poverty, prejudice, racism and image and identity.
Why did you set up XLP?
As a result of a stabbing in a local school. The school phoned the church where I was a youth worker and asked us to help raise the ‘moral fibre of the school’ I went in and asked them about the key issues for inner city young people. The school had 65 first languages, so it wasn’t that the kids were thick or stupid; they just didn’t understand what was being taught. I met kids who wore bullet proof vests to school because they were scared, and 14 year-old girls who were desperate to get pregnant. So, I decided to find 17 people to give me £25 per month. XL stood for wanting kids to excel in everything they do, and P stood for project. We wanted everything we did to be about creating positive futures for young people.
Who has been the most influential mentor in your role as founder and CEO of XLP?
Just before I started XLP, I used to go to this church and the leader there was so unbelievably encouraging towards me. I was only 16 at the time and I was getting really passionate about justice and issues around homelessness, exclusion and poverty and he really backed me and really believed in me. He allowed me to make mistakes and was there for me when I did.
What single thing would make your life easier?
Well, money and resources would make my life easier, but particularly if people would back the charity, for example, core costs. XLP can often get funding for things like buses, but we struggle to get funding for the hub of the organisation. And also to have a Government which thought strategically across London – about how things work between boroughs, and which had a long term strategic plan for London as a whole, which was not just number driven.
What piece of advice would you give your 25 year old self?
Brené Brown said the most compassionate people are the most boundaried people which I thought was a bit weird but looking at how you look after yourself means you can care for others as well, and means you can go the extra mile and look out for those who are less fortunate than you are.