Get us in your inbox

Jamal Edwards
Photograph: Ollie Ali

Jamal Edwards on how growing up on an Acton estate shaped him

The YouTube entrepreneur on the lessons he learned in this corner of west London

Written by
Bobby Palmer

Back in February 2020, Jamal Edwards MBE talked to Time Out about a defining London place in his growing up – his old estate in Acton. We’re republishing it now in respect for the SBTV founder who passed away yesterday. See other Londoners’ tributes to him here.

Joseph Avenue is the longest road on the estate where I grew up. It’s also the place where I did my first film workshop. I was 13 or 14 years old and a film crew came to the youth centre. They gave us cameras and told us to make a film on the estate. I made a horror film shot around Joseph Avenue.

If I looked back at it now I’d probably be embarrassed, but it’s where I got my passion for filming. The youth centre had such a community feel. The estate isn’t huge, so everyone knew each other. It was a safe place for local kids to hang out, which was the biggest thing. It got closed down, which was a shame because it opened us up to new things. I didn’t know I wanted to get into film at the time – we didn’t have those opportunities on the table.

A year ago, I got funding to open the centre again. I wanted kids on the estate to have the same opportunities I did. Since reopening, we’ve done storytelling events, had visits from scientists and launched a boxing programme. We’ve got two more youth centres in the area now – and I’m having meetings about branching out across Ealing, but it all started off at the youth centre on Joseph Avenue.

Reggie Yates on the area of London that changed his understanding of class.

Candice Carty-Williams reminisces about the Camberwell market of her childhood.

    You may also like
    You may also like
    Bestselling Time Out offers