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This is a transcript, just in case you would prefer to read, rather than listen…
Describe Simon Young in two sentences or less:
Two sentences or less! For those that know me that’s going to be an almost impossible task. They’ll say that where I can use two words I’ll use 22! So… committed, passionate and work for others. That’s probably a good start.
I’m a company director and I run two community interest companies that are geared to providing recreational and social opportunities for people across the community, particularly for those that are excluded, marginalised or isolated. Whether that be by economic reasons, whether that be by racial or social reasons. So, we’ve got two companies, one provides recreational sport, inclusive fun sport. We don’t have teams or anything like that, it’s literally for people to come along and play some sport. The other side is the social and welfare side, which is where the paralegal comes in.
What’s your favourite movie of all time?
As a family we’re huge movie lovers. So, that’s tough… I’d probably plump for Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton. If you asked my wife that’d be the one that she’d say was my favourite. Lost track of how many times I’ve seen it! I like all films. Big Star Wars fan growing up, my son is very into Marvel, so we’ve grown up with the Marvel universe as well. We really enjoy our films as a family.
When you retire, where in the world would you like to live, money no object?
I’ve always loved France. I’ve always felt I should have been born French. It’s something to do with the red wine and the cheese! I love France as a country, it’s beautiful, particularly the Northern parts of France, such as Normandy and Brittany. I was fortunate to spend some time at a school in France, in a much younger life, so that would be the one country, if I could choose anywhere at all.
How did you find NALP?
I was previously a legal executive, going back a few years. Obviously, with the lockdown and looking at what we were going to do with the social side of the business as we came out of lockdown, it was looking to where the needs were. The feedback we were getting was that people felt there was not sufficient legal opportunity and advice services within the community. So, I started looking at that and came across NALP and its Level 4 qualification. I think I started that in December. End of November/beginning of December. I completed that in March 2021. So, we’re now up and ready to go in providing support on a legal basis across the community.
When you had your consultation with our CEO, Amanda, you were highly complimentary about the Level 4 Diploma. What was it about the qualification and about NALP that really impressed you?
I think the support I’ve been given throughout has been amazing. I was on Unit 4 before Christmas and was then taken poorly with another bout of Covid, and was worried that I was going to miss the deadline for getting the assignment back. I contacted Ashley, who was absolutely fantastic, and said, ‘Look, don’t worry about it. We can give you an extension on that and, if you need more time, just don’t worry’. And that was really helpful to know. When you’ve got other things like your health to worry about, to not have to worry about deadlines was brilliant. So, that I think was the standout.
But the whole thing… I think the course is so well structured. You do it at your own pace. It’s well set out. The material is good and straightforward to read. Yes, I’ve got a background in law previously and it’s something I’ve always had a strong interest in. So there were some parts that were easier for me than others to get my head back around. But, I think, even for somebody who is looking for a new qualification or something new to study, it’s an ideal stepping stone into the law.
How do you believe the NALP qualification will help you in the future?
I see this very much as the beginning, rather than getting a certificate through the post as being the end. I think NALP is going to be a fundamental part of what we’re trying to achieve within the community. So, this is my qualification that I’ve secured, but this is very much, I hope, a NALP project that we’re going to be taking forward. And certainly, if there are other people within the Southampton/New Forest areas who are currently qualified or looking to qualify as a paralegal who want to get involved in community projects, we’d love to get them onboard as well. Because this is about community and this is about growing NALP.
What are your career aspirations?
The first thing I think would be to try and get back to work. I’m still suffering from Covid and it’s likely to be another two or three months before I’m back driving again. It’s a long road back. I’m able to do about an hour a day from home at the moment, so it’s small steps. To be able to serve is the main aspiration, serve the community and particularly those who are isolated, who are marginalised and who are vulnerable. I’ve been able to do a bit over the last few months and that for me is really important. I think I’ve been brought up by my family with that sense of justice and that justice is available for everybody. Our legal system is complex, but we all have a right to access that legal system. If we can help one person accessing that legal system to get justice in whatever area of law it may be, or to support somebody through or to help plan for their family’s future with wills, then that’s the aim achieved.
Can NALP help you achieve these aspirations?
Absolutely, it’s very much the beginning of the journey together. Ongoing, there’s the support of NALP there. As we come further out of lockdown, with the conferencing in 2022, hopefully, there’s an opportunity to meet other people. Again I think its really rooted in what I believe in for the community interest companies. We’ve got this community and if you’ve got that community to be able to lean upon from time to time, whether it be for additional support, whether it be for questions or just for somebody to talk to, I think it is massively important to have that.
I think as this starts to grow I hope I’ll be able to access that [NALP support] even further and deeper as well. And certainly, from talking with Amanda, that was very much the impression I was given. That NALP is there to support. It’s not just, ‘There’s your qualification, off you go’. This is the beginning of a journey not the end of a journey.
This interview with Simon Young is the second in an ongoing series, looking at the experiences our members have and what really makes them tick. If you would like to take part, drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org