Growing up on the Easterhouse estate in Glasgow meant that from a young age Connor witnessed the horrors of gang life. His house was between two rival gang areas, so at times he felt like he couldn’t step outside the front door, and even at school he was bullied because he didn’t have the protection of being in a gang.
Connor saw kids as young as six getting involved in gang fighting, and would regularly witness vandalism, violence and intimidation. He never felt safe and he wondered what his own future could possibly hold.
Even some of Connor’s friends started to join gangs, so he lost touch with people close to him as they were only interested in their own drink or drug-fuelled, violent lifestyles.
It wasn’t until his family finally moved to Rogerfield, where the FARE youth project is based, that Connor began to enjoy his free time. FARE works to reduce local tensions and violence by integrating and educating gang members. At first, Connor didn’t see how the project could help; he now credits them with transforming his life.
Two years ago he decided to volunteer for FARE and run for the Scottish Youth Parliament; “I thought, what if someone turned around and really made a difference and said “no more gangs, drugs and alcohol?”” Now with a place on the Glasgow Youth Council, Connor is steaming ahead with his ambition. And he hopes that one day, FARE’s hard work will banish gangs from Glasgow forever.
“If I can show the kids there’s more to life than gangs, then maybe there’s a chance for them.”