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East Ham musician appears on MTV reality show, Refreshers Week

PUBLISHED: 10:58 19 October 2018

Musician Gareth Jones, who grew up in East Ham. Picture: Steven Massey/Freezabox productions

Musician Gareth Jones, who grew up in East Ham. Picture: Steven Massey/Freezabox productions

Archant

A musician from Newham is appearing on an MTV reality show.

Gareth with his fellow cast members for MTV's Refreshers Week. Picture: Steven Massey/Freezabox productionsGareth with his fellow cast members for MTV's Refreshers Week. Picture: Steven Massey/Freezabox productions

Gareth Jones, 31, who grew up in East Ham and now lives in Upton Park, is a contestant on Refreshers Week, a competition where eight adults return to university, completing assignments and freshers week activities to win £25,000.

The show has been running since September 24, with the final airing on Monday.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Gareth said.

“I was always quite anti-reality TV but I thought I’d give this a go.

Gareth said that, having avoided violent crime while growing up in Newham, he wants to give back to make sure other young people can do the same. Picture: Jessica LubyGareth said that, having avoided violent crime while growing up in Newham, he wants to give back to make sure other young people can do the same. Picture: Jessica Luby

“It’s great because it brings together a mix of people who went to university, had bad experiences, good experiences, or were never students at all.”

Gareth grew up in East Ham with his mum and brother, before moving to Yorkshire at the start of secondary school. When he was 15, he returned to east London on his own, getting an apprenticeship in Dagenham and a flat share in Cumberland Road in Plaistow.

The musician recently became an executive producer on a YouTube show, Barber Banter, which takes place in Cut Above The Rest in East Ham High Street. The show discusses issues facing young people in east London, with the latest about violent crime reaching nearly 100,000 views.

“We started it about four months ago, and while we’re not in the mainstream yet, people on social media know about us,” he said.

“We live in the heart of Newham, I grew up here, so I’ve seen it get massively worse for the kids.

“Inner city kids aren’t bad, but they’ve lost a little bit of heart, they’re scared.

“We wanted to hear what they have to say about life in Newham among the different generations, so we’ve got 16 to 64-year-olds on the show discussing it together.”

Gareth, whose recording name is Skulduggz, said when he was growing up in Newham, he was involved in petty crimes and minor trouble, but was fortunate enough to be able to escape arrest and a criminal record.

Many of his friends weren’t as lucky, and he said since turning 30, he’s realised he wants to give back.

“I’m working on an EP called Thirty Focus – when I hit this age, my focus changed, my motivations changed, and I decided I want to focus on social issues more,” he said.

“Another project I’m doing, I’m hoping to give the proceeds to Stratford Circus for a theatre group they run for disadvantaged children.

“I’ve been very blessed not to have gotten into trouble, and I want to give back to the arts which helped me.”

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