Resort rapper Jamie Hardman has already taken on bullying through his music. Now he faces his greatest challenge – drugs.
The former addict turned rapper is poster boy for a new national campaign to give youngsters a fighting chance of getting clean and staying out of trouble.
Since 2008 Fixers has recruited 8,700 young people as “fixers” on hundreds of projects. They get professional help to make promotional material, such as films, websites or print work.
A £7.2m grant from the Big Lottery Fund has just extended the network’s reach.
Jamie, 21, the Blackpool fixer who used a crave a fix, performs his rap song The Streets on ITV1 at 6pm tonight and also discusses his own drugs ordeal.
Now clean, he’s keen to encourage others to turn away “from the streets and drugs.”
Jamie first dabbled in drugs at 11. “They’re easy to get hold of. It’s easy to run out of hope here and turn to other stuff. Blackpool’s a horrible place. There are too many druggies and dealers, not enough jobs and opportunities.
“I was well into cannabis and cocaine by 18. By then I needed it. I had drug-related convictions.
“Nobody helped me – other than my family and the right type of mates. Even they almost gave up on me.
“I kicked it myself through music. I did GCSE music, couldn’t play keyboard or guitar, but wrote a song. When I performed it at the leavers’ assembly everybody loved it.
“That was the turning point but changing was hard. I kicked it myself. Today I’m totally clean. Music’s my high. Now I need to make a living from it and you don’t get breaks in Blackpool without a fanbase.
“I’m trying to get my music out there. Fixers helps. Being able to get my voice heard, to inspire other people, it’s a privilege. If I can help somebody change their life for the better I’d be really happy. I want people to judge me on who I am - and not what I was.”
Margo Horsley, chief executive of Fixers, says: “Fixers are always courageous and their ideas can be challenging and life-changing – not just for themselves.”
Specialist drug and alcohol programme coordinator Shughie Morrison says: “Blackpool’s no worse than many for drugs issues and considerably better at dealing with them.
“Our message is if you need help, ask. Ask, talk, find. We have a handle on it.”