From street crime to playground: reformed Anton becomes a children’s author

Anton Noble overcame a series of setbacks in life to become a street worker and children’s author (Photo: Joseph Walshe/SWNS)

A young leader who escaped a life of crime returns to the playground to prevent young lives from being lost to gangs and drugs.

Anthony Noble believes that one of the points of intervention on a road ultimately leading to prison is the schoolyard, and he has channeled his life experiences into a preventive book suitable for young readers.

The reformed character wants to prevent the “gang mentality” from taking hold at an early age as children establish pecking orders and learn to socialize.

After escaping turf wars on the streets of Coventry, he now helps young people overcome similar pitfalls, including county lines gangs.

Some of those he works with are considered to have exhausted their chances before prison.

The mentor now wants to point the elementary kids in the right direction, long before they need his help.

“I wrote this book because I thought teachers and kids should know that the playground is one of the greatest places kids learn while they’re in school,” he says. .


For Metro, Steven Lawrence.  Pictured is youth worker Anton Noble on October 19, 2022 near Millennium Place in Coventry.  Anton wrote a children's book as a tool to fight gang culture.  Anton fell into a life of crime when he was younger, but turned his life around and became a youth worker.
Anton Noble took to the streets in urban areas to support and help young people (Photo: Joseph Walshe/SWNS)

“Classrooms may be the places where they are taught, but playgrounds are the places where you learn to be social and control your emotions.

“When I was younger, the playing field was where gang behavior started, it was about who was toughest and most popular, or who had the highest rating. My book shows teachers, families and children that we can all learn from each other in the playground as well as in the classroom.

“Primary school should be the starting point for breaking gang culture before moving on to secondary school, the outside world and prison.

“If some of us had learned those lessons back then, we wouldn’t be where we are now. My life would definitely have been different if I had taken that into account, I wouldn’t have fallen into gangs and crime.


For Metro, Steven Lawrence.  Pictured is youth worker Anton Noble on October 19, 2022 near Millennium Place in Coventry.  Anton wrote a children's book as a tool to fight gang culture.  Anton fell into a life of crime when he was younger, but turned his life around and became a youth worker.
Anton Noble has helped transform the lives of some of the hardest to reach young people in big cities (Photo: Joseph Walshe/SWNS)

“I learned that gang mentality comes from ignorance and there’s no reason we can’t learn from each other.

“I want to encourage kids to stop comparing themselves to each other because they are all masterpieces and unique.”

As a teenager with few positive role models, Anton traded a broken house in Coventry, where he still lives, for an adoptive family from the streets.

Life changed after his brother’s impending death from a drug overdose and he became an outreach worker, reaching out to at-risk youth on the streets as well as those already involved in crime.


Anton wants to reach out to young people before they get lost in the streets (Photo: File image/Getty)
Anton wants to reach out to young people before they get lost in the streets (Photo: File image/Getty)

Also inspired by the discovery of God and the church, he left “the roads” behind him and has since set up the Guiding young minds (GYM), which is part of the charity Assist Trauma Care.

Speaking, and occasionally rapping and DJing, in schools, public places and on social media, Anton has helped over 1,000 young people escape similar traps to date.

Working in the West Midlands, London, Milton Keynes and Northampton, he owns a graffiti-adorned minibus with meeting space which he parks in inner-city areas, often staying after dark with other workers youth who have also escaped gangs and crime.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk for Black History Month, the 31-year-old said he wanted to use the legacy of his windrush-era grandparents to inspire harmony between cultures.

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They were part of a generation of Jamaicans to fill vacancies after World War II, bearing racism with dignity as they created new lives. Anton’s grandparents on both sides left a legacy that he wants to continue today. It’s love, not bitterness, he tells Metro.co.uk

“One of the reasons I put myself in the story is that I didn’t grow up to see a lot of people who looked like me in textbooks,” says Anton.

“Black History Month is a great time to spread this awareness and send positive messages to young people, but I also want to show how all cultures can learn from each other.

“We need to learn about the past, but not to divide people and spread hate, we need to look to the future and bring people together.

“My grandparents came here with just their suitcases and made their life in a new country, there were certain things that happened and a lot of racism, they didn’t get certain jobs even though they had skills, but they fought for it.


For Metro, Steven Lawrence.  Pictured is youth worker Anton Noble on October 19, 2022 near Millennium Place in Coventry.  Anton wrote a children's book as a tool to fight gang culture.  Anton fell into a life of crime when he was younger, but turned his life around and became a youth worker.
Anton’s first book, The Playground, encourages healthy dialogue between parents and children (Photo: Joseph Walshe/SWNS)

“Without their resilience, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

This must be passed on from generation to generation.

“Even though it’s Black History Month, the message should be that everyone is welcome to share our culture.”

Anton will share some of his life lessons in person when he uses his first book for workshops in elementary schools covering topics such as emotional intelligence and gang formation.

Illustrated by Zara Malik, The Playground is a diverse, multicultural resource that schools and families can use to engage with young people.

The book encourages healthy dialogue around topics such as rejection, maladjustment, bullying, and negative role models.

For more information about Anton and GYM, click on here

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black history month

October marks Black History Month, which reflects the achievements, cultures and contributions of black people in the UK and around the world, as well as educating others about the diverse history of people of African descent and Caribbean.

For more information on the events and celebrations taking place this year, visit the official website black history month website.


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October is Black History Month (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Harold B. McConnell