Real Action’s founder, Roger Diamond, left school at an early age to become a musician.
As a young man, he formed and promoted a youth R&B band and two British reggae bands in North London - one of which reached number two in the UK pop hits charts. He then joined Haringey Youth Service. Tensions were high between youths and police, and for many years he worked as a detached (i.e. often on the streets) youth and community leader.
Roger founded and managed the non-profit '18th Brocade Performing Arts' project in Tottenham from 1978 to 1987 to help address local youth issues, where he taught music and drama to teenagers. He wrote and organised theatrical events and musicals. They performed at Town Halls, colleges and most of Haringey’s primary schools. Eventually Roger moved to West London.
Around 1994, Mozart (council housing) Estate was about to be subject to major regeneration called "Estate Action". But "Real action" was what local estate residents told Roger they wanted, to deal with the epic violent youth crime and anti-social problems in the area. Roger, then a member of the Tenants’ Association, campaigned for security guards to patrol the then-crime-ridden estate (it was a no-go area for cabs, delivery drivers etc., even the police!).
Eventually, two friendly (racially diverse), socially conscious, young security guards, patrolled the renowned council estate with an Alsatian dog. They also chatted with the children and gang members who used to follow them (intrigued) as they patrolled. One day the uniformed guards called Roger explaining that two 14-year-old gang leaders said they were struggling with their literacy and maths and wanted weekly extra-mural help...
...With the help of then councillor Katie Ivens, and literacy expert Irina Tyk, the Butterfly Summer Reading School pilot on the Mozart Estate followed (filmed for a TV documentary) in summer 1995. Nine months later, Katie and ten community members responded to Roger’s call to form the Founding Committee of a tailor-made community educational charity. Roger, remembering the chants and pleas of his anguished neighbours, suggested 'Real Action' as the charity's name, which was unanimously adopted by the Founding Trustees. Funding being its main challenge, the charity kept evolving year by year, until it acquired a purpose-designed base on Mozart Street. Decades later - Roger continues to help run, and develop the charity today, wearing various hats including Company Secretary and Founder-Director.
Since 1999, Real Action has opened a number of Saturday Butterfly Literacy Schools. And provided their Butterfly literacy in-schools programme in numerous state schools, for children falling behind with reading - with remarkable results. Roger says: "One of my primary wishes for 2019 is to get more involved in the conversation about what can be done to reduce the recent fast-growing epic problem of youth violence, knife-crime, and anti-social behaviour experienced in many deprived areas".
Roger has also been an active school governor for about five years. Roger is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and a member of IOD. Roger's favourite pastime is performing as a jazz pianist - particularly in improvising over popular tunes, standards and film anthems. He has recently created a new band - performing various styles - called the 'Butterfly Jazz Band' that will hopefully continue to evolve - and help raise essential funds for Real Action's continuous growth.