"In today's society I think it vitally important that young people are made aware of the realities of life. A school is not only responsible for a students academic development but also their personal wellbeing. Part of the this process was the organisation of a citizenship day on the theme of addiction. Paul was recommended to us by the Havering Drug team and he did not disappoint. In discussion with Paul he used the word brutal with reference to aspects of his life whilst in the midst of severe addiction and as his story unfolded this was certainly the case. However it was a story that desperately needed to be told and told it was in an engaging,emotional and thoroughly absorbing hour that Paul spent with each class. His frankness but ability to interact with the boys left them transfixed and it is my determined intention to ensure all the boys in the school hear his story.
If you get a chance book Paul because you will not be disappointed. He is on a mission that is evangelical in nature to tell his story and ensure young people today are made fully aware of the dangers of addiction and the distressing consequences that can result."
- Andy Gill Head of PHSE Royal Liberty school, Romford, Essex
"Promotion of his voluntary work
Darren, I believe that you have gold dust with Paul. I think that he has the natural ability to hold an audience. He had that likeability factor and is very, very interesting. As he says, he is the 2% that has made it through the other end of being an addict so therefore his future with his voluntary work and I would say, leading to paid work will be fantastic. He will surely be in demand... once the word gets out. Any way that I can assist in the promotion of Paul, I would be happy to do.
Lastly, thank you so much once again... for providing us with this opportunity. I hope that this can lead to more joint work in the future."
- Michelle Njie
"Paul gave a really impressive and hard-hitting drugs talk, to a group of 16 year old pupils at our school. The staff were really impressed with Paul's character and integrity; while the pupils were spell-bound with his presentation. Many commented that it was his real life experience and total honesty that made it meaningful to them. They listened for a full forty minutes in total silence and then asked lots of questions. The next day I asked for feedback and it was all positive. Every pupil had been affected by Paul's story and it is still being talked about many weeks later. I was so pleased I had invited him to the school. It was a real experience for my class and actually represents education in its highest form. Paul's strength of will in combating drugs and ultimately winning his life back is a great didactic story and model. One boy commented on coming out of the class “I'll never try that”. What more can you ask! "
- Dr. Mark R Burgess (Upper School English Teacher - Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School)
“I think Paul has done a fabulous job explaining how his life went wrong, starting with cannabis. All of the pupils were completely engaged in what he was saying because he is real. They now all realise the horrific damage any drug could inflict on their own lives."
- Teacher, Coopers Coborn School
“The session has enabled the staff team to use this as a platform to further develop discussion with young people around the use/misuse of drugs. I can only say a massive thank you on behalf of everyone at the youth centre for a really enlightening and unique experience.”
- Youth Centre Manager, Royals Youth Centre
“I really enjoyed Paul’s talk. I found it fascinating to see how something that he started doing in school changed his life forever. I enjoyed his honesty and how he didn’t dress things up or avoid the truth. He was an inspirational speaker and he put things into perspective.”
- Young Woman, Aged 15
“Anyone can talk to you about what drugs are made of and the statistics and how they affect your body, etc but he has been there and he has lived it. And only those that have lived it and breathed it and experienced each unique experience have the authority and the ownership to talk about it so candidly – and with the honesty that Paul brings.”
- Young Woman, Aged 16