When I was younger, I was not a bad person, but I fell in with the wrong crowd.

Yasin - HQ Recording Studios

Education didn’t work for me; I was intelligent but didn’t respond well to authority and I was expelled when I was 15. I started doing weed, E’s and then ended up getting into heroin and crack. From the ages of 16 to 24 my main mission in life was to get high.”

Yasin grew up on an inner-city council estate. His Egyptian father, who he has never met, was deported before he was born. His single mother brought up six kids.

“My mum always loved us and we always had food on the table, but I was looking up to the wrong kind of people who had money – criminals.” When his girlfriend got pregnant it was a turning point. “Not having a dad it was always important that if I had kids I’m going to be the best dad I can be.”

He deleted all the numbers of his old drug crowd, and in 2006, his son was born with severe cerebral palsy. Struggling with the fallout, Yasin lost his job in a warehouse. He became a delivery driver for the flexibility to care for his son.

Yasin turned to his old friends, from before the drugs, with who he had taken a music course with at age 14. Many had gone on to be DJs or producers but were struggling to make a living. He gathered them together and pitched an idea to the local council to run a project teaching music skills.

Yasin began to offer free studio space to unemployed young people to explore their talents, mentoring up to 100 young people for the Big Lottery-funded Talent Match project. He went on to share a stage with royalty – winning The Prince’s Trust Mentor of the Year

Key Fund investment of £50k helped Yasin set up an additional recording studio to double capacity for his commercial clients, charitable funded projects, and record label HQ Familia.

Harri - Music Producer

Just over five years ago and having just finished university, Harri was in the jobcentre, anchorless:

“I just felt so lost.” “I just remember leaving uni realising the degree didn’t mean much at all. I sent tonnes of CVs to a load of places with no reply whatsoever, then I had to sign on, which I just found really depressing. I just wanted to start working. I saw a poster for HQ recording studio on the wall, and I’m thinking, no way!” Yasin was offering work experience and for the first time Harri’s CV resonated, as music sang through.

 “100% music is my passion, that’s my focus, it’s all I do, all I think about, I think that’s what saved me. I can’t imagine not having that focus in my life, I don’t know where I’d be without it.” – Harri