Search

Redbridge care worker’s journey from prison to meeting Prince Charles

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 March 2017

Umar Saeed has been nominated for a Prince's Trust young ambassador award. Picture: Sean Malyon

Umar Saeed has been nominated for a Prince's Trust young ambassador award. Picture: Sean Malyon

Sean Malyon 2016

Umar Saeed is only 27 and has already been to jail, become a care worker, received a standing ovation from Thierry Henry and met Prince Charles.

Umar Saeed in the street where he grew up in East Ham. Picture: Sean MalyonUmar Saeed in the street where he grew up in East Ham. Picture: Sean Malyon

Umar, Chadwell Heath, will attend the The Prince’s Trust & TK Maxx Celebrate Success Awards, at the Palladium, on Wednesday, where he is nominated for the young ambassador of the year award.

He has already won the regional equivalent and, despite the many famous faces he has met in the past few years, is looking forward to meeting the event’s Geordie co-hosts Ant and Dec.

The awards recognise disadvantaged young people who have overcome personal hardships and Umar’s story reflects his struggles growing up in poverty in Moss Side, Manchester, and later east London.

“Growing up, my parents were addicts, my dad was a part of the Hell’s Angels gangs in Moss Side. Things got bad, to the point we had to flee from Manchester and had to move to London.

“I grew up pretty fast. Many times I saw my parents arrested, Swat teams would bust down my door and there were problems with addicts coming to the house saying they [his parents] owed them money.”

As he grew older Umar saw the local drug dealers were making a lot of money and soon found himself involved in importing and exporting drugs.

However the police soon caught up with him and he ended up behind bars.

After his release he was introduced to The Prince’s Trust by his probation officer and took some courses to gain qualifications.

“I did a few courses with the trust and then went to one of their Get A Job days and I got a job as a carer – I was really surprised.

“I was really good at it, I would get on with people and identify their problems.

“Now I’m at a different company and on a full time contract and I aspire to be a social worker working with people with drug problems because I know what it’s like in that environment.”

After hearing his story the trust invited Umar to speak at its 40th anniversary event, hosted by Jon Snow.

Prince Charles has acknowledged that the charity exists to support people like Umar.

At another event run by the trust Umar, an Arsenal fan, performed a play with other young people about their experiences and was given a raucous applause led by his hero Thierry Henry.

“When I finished the play Henry stood up and gave us a standing ovation. Me and my brother once went to the Emirates just to see him.”

Umar will finish his role as an ambassador later this year and is extremely grateful for the experiences and support he’s received and is looking forward to the future.

He said: “No amount of money can replace the things the Prince’s Trust has helped me achieve.

“I feel so proud that I’m actually doing good.

“I’ve always had a conscience under the bad things I did, I’m happy my parents and siblings can be proud of me.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Ilford News Stories

Police officers were forced to direct traffic at one of Redbridge’s busiest junctions this morning after a van drove into a traffic light there.

A 21-year-old from Woodford Green and another man from Manor Park have been charged with murdering a 28-year-old in Havering.

Eyewitnesses have described the terrifying moment that a fatal shooting unfolded in a quiet residential street in Ilford.

Yesterday, 16:59

The historic department store Bodgers will close at the end of February 2018, it has been confirmed.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now