How to Serve Your Community with Saeed Atcha

Ep.24 25/02/2021

“I was in foster care from a young age and had corporate parents, the council and the government. The majority of care leavers end up in prison or homeless. However, I truly feel that if you are in care, you should be better off and not worse off, the government and the council are your parents, so you should be flying.”

Saeed was not brought up in an ordinary background.  At the age of 3 years old Saeed was placed into foster care in his hometown of Bolton. Saeed has been in care most of his life up until the age of 21 years old.

He didn’t feel like he had a stable foundation, he has never known his father and had taken the first steps advancing down the wrong path. As a teenager he believed that the world and everyone in it was against him.

School was the only stable and safe place for Saeed. One day at the age of 15 years old Saeed’s life changed for ever. He was in High School and whilst heading to the shops he saw a newspaper headline that called young people feral, vile and evil. In this moment Saeed realised something had to change and that young people had to be part of that change.

The inspiration to start Saeed’s journey was the day where he got his magazine that he was responsible for delivering in his school, taken away from him. But at the same time, he wrote to the chief executive at O2 to help with the magazine. He got a reply back from the O2 chief executive who gave money to Saeed for his project. Saeed finally had some purpose and some ambition.

After a kind donation from Ronan Dunne the CEO of O2 at the time of £2,500 he then set up Xplode magazine at the age of 15 years old, a completely youth led magazine and movement and then decided to establish the organisation as a registered charity. It was set up as a charity that develops young people and place to give them a purpose.

The charity is now called Youth leads UK and has helped over 12,500 young people since the beginning and it is still entirely youth led, with nobody over the age of 30.

Youth Leads is about social action, being sustainable and helping youth get on the journey of striving to be the best version of themselves and of course influencing change.

Saeed has completely transformed his life! He has served a number of charities as a trustee, in 2018 appointed commissioner of the social mobility commission on behalf of the British government, providing advice to the government. In that role Saeed has supported big businesses ensuring they recruit on potential and not polish.

In 2019 at the age of 22 years old, Saeed was appointed an MBE in her majesty the Queens New Year’s honours list and for services to young people and to the community. Saeed was then also asked to be the deputy lieutenant for Greater Manchester on behalf of the Queen and the Royal household.

Saeed had corporate parents, the council and the government were his parents. The majority of care leavers end up in prison or homeless. However, he truly feels that If you are in care, you should be better off and not worse off.

Saeed wants to be able to encourage, to love and nurture each person. A legacy of supporting people to be the best they can be and changing society to allow that to happen. To ensure that people from difficult backgrounds are able to get ahead. No matter the colour of their skin, their background or the religion they follow.


Saeed Atcha

Youth Leads

Young Minds