Frankie's Story Growing up Poor


Frankie's Story

Following young people as they tackle the issues associated with poverty. Back from juvenile detention, Frankie is planning a new future and hopes to go to university.


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Transcript


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In the midst of an economic recession,

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we are all in it together,

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but some are in it deeper than others.

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With one in five young people struggling to find work

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and many dependent on benefits,

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Britain's youth is being hit hard.

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In London, 19-year-old Frankie's home

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is a cramped three-bedroom council flat

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where five people are dependent on his mum's benefits.

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Two of my sisters sleep in this room here, one of my sisters

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sleep in that room there and my mum sleeps in that room there.

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And obviously, this is my room here.

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-INTERVIEWER:

-Where's the front room?

-There's no front room.

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Frankie has just finished his first year at college,

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where he is studying games design.

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This project is just a dream home.

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That would be on the beach, with a swimming pool in the roof.

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This ain't my dream home.

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My dream is always just being independent,

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having my own house, being happy somewhere.

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Location-wise, it would probably still be in the 'hood, like.

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Frankie's hope is to be the very first person from his family

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to get to university.

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One day, I said to myself, "I have to change."

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Nobody ain't going to change for me.

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I do need that determination, you know, and that focus,

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because without that, then how am I going to get where I want to be?

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But with fees now hitting nine grand a year and no access

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to the Bank of Mum and Dad, the odds are stacked against him.

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Education is the way out.

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Rich people don't need to really care about education,

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because it's given to them on a plate, whereas people like me

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or whoever else is in my state, you are born into nothing,

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so you have to make something of yourself.

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The streets is a safety net. The streets is always there for you.

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There's always opportunities within the streets to, you know, make money.

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But it's easy. It's like the easy route out.

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Whereas going to get a job and that, that's kind of the hard route,

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and you need that determination and ambition to get you there.

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If you come from an estate like this and apply for a job,

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they get knocked back down then,

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so they kind of lose that determination after they try,

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so they come back to the streets and the streets provide,

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so that's why you can't blame people for coming back to the streets.

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But Frankie knows from experience

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what the price of the streets can be.

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Every few weeks, he makes a two-hour journey across London

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and gets a stark reminder.

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When I visit my friends, I know what they are thinking.

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That's why it's good to be on the other side of the table,

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cos I know what goes through their heads.

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Before, when I was here,

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I was sitting on the other side of the visiting table.

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I was the person being visited.

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Frankie was sentenced to two years in prison for

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a street robbery of a mobile phone that ended in violence.

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I hit one of the boys and he suffered a fractured jaw,

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so I was in prison for something.

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I wasn't in prison for no reason. No-one is in prison for no reason.

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Bed, toilet, sink.

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Amazing view(!) I was thinking about it just now when I was in there,

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what did I do to kill time? I used to just think all the time.

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Try to come up with a plan, you know, try to structure my life.

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I've woken up and realised what my life is like and, you know,

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what everyone else's life is like and I kind of had to think,

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you know, "How can I better this?"

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It gave me that time to think what I want to do with my life, you know.

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Frankie's college is about to break up for the summer

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and he is already planning on how to fund himself through the holidays.

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Obviously, once I finish my course, getting a job will be vital.

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I will have to get a job.

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I've got work experience with BT, conservation work,

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horticultural work experience. All of them are voluntary.

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He has built up a great CV through working for free,

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but getting a paid job is trickier.

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He has to disclose his criminal conviction.

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Applying online for jobs ain't really working, so I'm going to kind of get

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proactive and go down to Wood Green and go to the stores directly.

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I'm looking for a retail job in the area of games,

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because I know a lot about the product, so...

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-Can I speak to the manager, please?

-Yeah, you're speaking to her.

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-How can I help?

-Would it be possible to apply for a job here, please?

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Yes, do you want to give me your CV?

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I can give you our e-mail address for our HR.

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-Forward it to them, it's easier.

-OK, thank you very much.

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-Thank you very much. Have a lovely day.

-You, too.

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Frankie's CV didn't get him any offers,

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but he may have another chance.

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Out of the blue, a voluntary work contact has recommended him

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for an interview in the West End.

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I don't go into central London, you know,

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because there's never really been a reason for me to go there.

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I know Trafalgar Square, and that's it.

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It's not exactly a poor city, you know?

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There's loads of businesses and that,

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so it's not like I'm in the middle of nowhere.

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As much as there is going on, there's a lot of competition.

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The odds are stacked against you, really.

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Frankie has never been to a nightclub before,

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but he might have some of the right skills.

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It's street work, handing out flyers.

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It's really important for me to get to that interview stage

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when it comes to getting a job,

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because I have a criminal record, so...

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I almost feel like I'm blacklisted. Like, I feel like I can't get jobs

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because of what I've done when I was a kid.

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You know, obviously regret it. Every day, I regret it.

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But there's nothing I can do. I can't turn back time.

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PHONE RINGS Hello?

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'Hi there. How are you, Frankie?'

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I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

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CONVERSATION INDISTINCT

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-'OK, well done.'

-Thank you.

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-'Bye.'

-All right. Bye.

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Yeah, I got a job. I told you.

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I beat 16 people to the job.

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Can we go to Nando's to celebrate?

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THEY LAUGH

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Frankie's travelled down from London to the south coast.

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He's come down for an open day

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to check out a degree course in games design.

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So, all these guys already have their degrees,

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and they're doing a Masters here.

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All the courses we do are both academically challenging,

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so they're difficult courses, but at the same time,

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they prepare you for work.

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What's the possibility of me earning money,

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or part-time work, while I'm here?

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Um, it's probably going to be difficult,

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because unlike other colleges, we have a very full timetable.

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So we'll give you a bit of an insight into student finance,

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how much could you supplement your income

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through student finance and support with a part-time job.

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There is no need to panic.

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Yes, the costs that you may pay may be more

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than people on the current system, and I'm not going to deny that.

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This is the reality of the situation.

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You will have more of a loan than I have,

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but the repayment system that you get is technically better.

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It'll be a three-year course, so that'll be 27 grand

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that I'll be in debt.

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-INTERVIEWER:

-What?

-27...

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That's not even including living finance or nothing like that.

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That's just £27,000, just to do my course.

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So, obviously, there'll be other costs on top of that, as well.

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So it'll be a lot of money.

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The day has given Frankie plenty to think about.

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It was a good eye-opener.

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All it highlighted, really, is how expensive it's going to be.

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But university ain't really an option. It's vital.

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Like, I have to do it.

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I want to be able to be that person where I work, I buy houses,

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you know, buy cars. I want to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle.

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I want to not be the same as everyone else.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Filmed over the summer of 2012, each programme highlights one young person as he or she tackles some of the issues associated with poverty.

Frankie has grown up on the streets and paid the price - he was sent to juvenile detention for a violent street robbery. Now he is back in his overcrowded home and planning a new future. He wants to be the first from his family to go to university but is finding the costs involved daunting.


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