What inspired the idea?
Nick says: ‘We grew up in poverty. We’ve witnessed our family and friends struggle - the lot: crime, drugs, prison, violence, mental health - even death. We’ve been there and seen it all. But we’ve also had help and guidance to be in a position to make a difference.’
Finding the punch line
Nick and Cyle’s lives could easily have gone south, but their fightback against tough odds gained a massive boost in the boxing gym, Carney’s Community, set up five years ago by youth worker George Turner.
Carney’s Community, in Battersea, is more than a gym; it’s a multi-dimensional project helping the disadvantaged and those most at risk, using a range of practical and groundbreaking methods.
Cyle says: ‘I suffered depression for years. If it wasn’t for people like George, who never gave up on me, I’d still be in that dark place now. He helped me to find myself and see my worth, not just in myself but in my kids, too.’
Nick adds: ‘Both my mother and the mother of my eldest daughter have had mental health and drug problems, so mental health is important to me and if I can help people in similar situations in some small way, then I know I’m doing my part.’
Nick and Cyle met at Carney’s Community, where they compared notes. Both had significant experience in the industry, so they decided to team up.
But they wanted their work to benefit more than just those fortunate clients who could afford to pay.
When they put their idea to George, he swung into action.
George Turner says: ‘Part of our role is to work with members who show an interest and passion in wanting to start their own businesses and projects, ranging from different things like catering, cleaning, healthy eating, music, personal training and fitness.
‘It’s my job to talk with established local businesses to seek their support. Most are open to the idea because helping people get paying work has a dramatic effect on their lives and decision process.
‘We are hugely grateful to the help we have received from Battersea Power Station.
‘The Good Guys’ idea impressed them so much that they agreed to support them by arranging a launch, as well as offering mentoring.
‘Not only that, Nick and Cyle will encourage those who benefit from their service to shadow them on the job, if they wish, so they can learn more about the trade and ways to maintain and improve their homes.’
Our First Project
We have just finished our first "give back job" under the Good Guys name.
His name is Ronan, 17 years old, who lives at home with his mum. His room was in very poor condition, with nothing in it at all. Not just that but he has also been suffering with mental health issues.
He came out of hospital last month after trying to commit suicide but since then he has managed to pull himself out of the cycle he was stuck in. He just started his first job and having his room refurbished has been a massive weight off his chest.
We’ve never been in a room that was that bad before, but we did the best we could do to give him some normality back. Along with painting it we also, thanks to the help of one of our clients, managed to give him his first double bed, a rug, bedside cabinet, PlayStation 4, hi-fi system, a new bedroom door and wardrobe.
Doing his room was a real eye opener and reminder as to why we want to do this.
The Good Guys set aside a percentage of their earnings from each job to decorate those in need for free.
Who qualifies for the free decorating?
Normally people with whom Carney’s Community is already working with or others from local organisations engaged with those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Good Guys’ painting and decorating experience
Nick, 32, has been employed on major commercial contracts for 18 months before going self-employed for a similar length of time.
Cyle, 28, completed his level 1 City and Guilds, then spent 18 months with a South London loft conversion specialist.