Ashleigh Nugent
Creative Director

I was diagnosed with ADHD and left school with no qualifications. I was also arrested three times before I was seventeen, and released each time without charge. I was angry, I felt that I was a victim of racism and I hated all authority.

At sixteen I went to Jamaica in search of belonging and identity. There, I was mugged, stabbed and imprisoned. A year later, back in England, I got arrested for threatening behaviour with a knife.

At 21, I had a lengthy criminal record, little hope and lots of anxiety.

That’s when I started to RiseUp.

It started with a longing. I just wanted to admit to the world that I liked writing poems. It was that simple. My desires to share poems lead me to a college course. A friend I made at college passed me a book. The first full book I ever read. It posed the question: Where Are You Going? That question changed everything for me.

The path to change starts with a sense of purpose. A new purpose leads to the development of a renewed identity. This leads us to develop values and skills which aid that purpose. To do this we must change our behaviours, which, in turn, change the environment we find ourselves in.

Fast forward, I now have a 1 st class degree and teaching qualifications, I’ve written a book that has won some awards and toured the country as a performing artist, I’m a home owner and a proud husband and father.

And I am very proud of my role in RiseUp - to share the secrets of my own transformative journey.