ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

2020.11.18 Lewis Vans Web Banner V2

"This board validates to myself that I actually do have the potential to do things like this professionally."

Lewis 19, has lived at a Centrepoint hostel in Central London since he left care at 18. He is studying game design and recently won a House of Vans competition with Centrepoint to design a skateboard.

His skateboard, along with others designed by famous artists such as Grayson Perry, will be part of a virtual auction  hosted by The Auction Collective to raise vital funds for homeless young people.  

Lewis's Story

Lewis found it difficult growing up in foster care – describing the experience like having no voice and being in the dark with no agency over your life and decisions.

When leaving care at 18, he expressed an interest in semi-independent living and was offered a place at a Centrepoint hostel where he could be supported in his journey to independence.

Lewis is currently studying games design at a specialist university. He says that although his real passion is for film and acting, he wanted to develop the skills necessary to secure job he can rely on.

“At the moment, the only realistic goal I have is to do games design or animation because I have the skill set to do something creative with technology. It’ll be better if I get a solid job in one of these sectors rather than gambling everything to do acting,” he says.

Lewis found that the House of Vans competition with Centrepoint gave him an opportunity to explore and feel proud of his cultural roots.

“Growing up, I’d always neglected that side of my culture and pushed it aside as people used to bully me because I was the only Asian in the class. Now it’s about embracing it and showing a side of me that I’m happy to explore. I created the skateboard around Japanese mythology, legends and stories.”

He adds that he was pleasantly surprised when they printed his exact design on the skateboard.

“I created this purely as a concept with the impression that it would end up redesigned by a professional or something, but it turns out it was seen as good enough to be a design on its own which was unexpected!”

Lewis with his winning deck

For Lewis, the fact that his design was chosen is symbolic of his potential.

“I guess the board validates to myself that I actually do have the potential to do things like this professionally because a lot of the time I’m really harsh and critical of myself. Even while I was creating this I found a lot of flaws in my design and I wanted to change a lot of things but that’s just always going through my mind.”

We are all extremely proud of Lewis and hope that his confidence and self-belief continue to grow.

If you'd like to make a donation to Centrepoint and support young people like Lewis, please visit our donation page.

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