“Before XLP I would say that I lacked confidence, but being involved with XLP has helped me to develop self-belief; the belief that I can be the best that I can be”.
“I got involved with XLP almost 4 years ago when a teacher recommended that I audition for the XLP Arts Showcase and since then I’ve never looked back. I performed at the 2011 Arts Showcase Final and won the Youth Voice Award because my act had such a positive message. My mum was so proud of me when I won that she ran on stage and gave everyone a huge hug. It was an incredible feeling to achieve something like that. It felt good to know that the music I was making was making people smile. Although I wasn’t the overall winner of the Arts Showcase Final, XLP still created opportunities for me. That’s what is so great about this charity - they are able to create opportunities for young people, opportunities that they wouldn’t come across by themselves and I have certainly benefitted from that. One example was I got to meet the great man himself - Archbishop Desmond Tutu! Being from South Africa myself it was an absolute inspiration to meet him.
XLP are still supporting me - there is always someone I can talk to about the things that are going in my life. Before XLP I would say that I lacked confidence, but being involved with XLP has helped me to develop self-belief; the belief that I can be the best that I can be. This doesn’t just apply to my music and performing, I can see lots of other areas of my life that have been affected too. My mind has been opened to the possibilities. I am now meeting and talking to people from all different backgrounds. I can see that there is so much more to life than what I see in my area and around my postcode. XLP has helped me to understand that if you work hard, your dreams can come true. I may have given up on things easily before but I now feel so motivated to never give up on my dreams. I really believe in the work that XLP does and believe that if it wasn’t for the support of their youth workers, I would have a different story to tell.”
Rico has gone on to study a BTEC at Epping Forest College.