Stratford’s ‘Apprentice’ winner Tim Campbell on giving back to his community

Tim Campbell, the winner of the first ever series of BBC1’s ‘The Apprentice’ is the latest star to support the Recorder’s joint Christmas Toy Appeal in conjunction with local charity Community Links.

Having grown up in Stratford, Tim is familar with the organisation which has helped many people across Newham over the last 30 years.

He said: “My church was involved in helping them when I was younger so I know them quite well. It’s a really fantastic charity.”

Community Links helps people with all sorts of problems with a particular emphasis on children and young people.

From helping struggling families find accommodation while they look for permanent housing, to setting up their own school for excluded children so that they can take their GCSE exams, it really has been a life line to some people.

With over half of the borough’s children living under the poverty line, our appeal aims to bring a smile to those children who would otherwise wake up to a Christmas Day without a gift to open, just as a way of saying ‘you matter’.

Tim said: “I am really fortunate. So many children are not fortunate. Those children deserve to get a treat. Any little gesture that we can do at an important time like Christmas, we should.

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“They are in difficult situations with no fault of their own. All they have is dreams.”

Having worked for Lord Alan Sugar for two years, Tim went on to set up Bright Ideas Trust, a social enterprise for young people trying to set up their own business.

He said: “It’s a massive shame, perhaps naive of some young people, they have all this energy but don’t know quite what to do with it sometimes. They are natural entrepreneurs.”

Tim believes experienced people, in whichever field, should be helping to shape new talent: “Unless we can reach back, say this is how you can do it, it’s wasted, all that energy. We all have a responsibility to nurture that talent.”

Having been awarded an MBE for Children’s Services as well as being London Mayor Boris Johnson’s apprenticeship ambassador, it’s clearly obvious Tim has a passion for young people.

Cheekily, he said: “I like to steal their youth, I’m not getting any younger.

“I love stealing the energy from young people and being around their creativity. It’s important not to lose contact because the ones behind you that are coming up may well be your colleague or your boss in a few years time.

“Newham has always been a poor area, and in some places, the poorest in Europe.

“The positive thing about growing up in an environmnent like that is that you have entrepreneurial skill, the drive to survive and work with anyone.”