'Think Outside The Blox' is a campaign of unity, positivity and education to help inspire the young people of London to see beyond the danger and destructiveness of gangs and knife crime and realise a better future for themselves.
Bobby Kasanga is a reformed gang member turned social philanthropist and all around community hero. He is the founder of London’s leading community football club, Hackney Wick FC. As a former gang member who served time in prison, he decided to repay his community by establishing Hackney’s first ever semi-professional football team.
Hackney Wick FC is run by volunteers and comprises of 230 active players across 18 teams of differing age groups. Their ethos is based on community engagement and uniting diverse groups, as well as battling peer pressure and tackling gang influences. They engage with those already involved in gangs, those on the brink of gang life and those who might not be aware of the associated risks of gangs, through training, fitness, and playing football, while also offering educational workshops, sporting opportunities, mentoring and access-to-work routes.
'Think Outside The Blox' is Kasanga’s brainchild but the campaign has been developed in partnership with local Hackney Wick design agency HeyBigMan!, a company that also has a strong community ethos.
The anti-youth violence initiative is designed to improve the lives and outlooks of underprivileged young Londoners, through a series of programmes delivered through this unique football club. Unlike previous campaigns around this subject that have a tendency to be dark, solemn and sometimes hard hitting, TOTB will exude an uplifting message of positivity and inspiration.
At the heart of 'Think Outside The Blox' will be the Hackney Wick FC official shirt.
Last year, HeyBigMan! with Nike, Tottenham Textiles, Avery Dennison and Hackney Wick FC hosted a series of creative workshops with young people who are deemed to be at risk of becoming involved with criminal gangs. During the workshops, the group collaborated to create two football shirts (HWFC home and away) which were then produced by Nike and have become Hackney Wick’s official home and away strips which will be officially launched and on sale on via selected Nike channels online later this month.
Photographer: Gary Morrisroe