The man behind Legacy Consultants, Nathan Dennis, talks his inner city background, the issue of youth violence, Black Lives Matter, greater engagement with ethnic communities – and his role in the 2022 Commonwealth Games
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I’m born and bred in Newtown, Birmingham and am proud to be of Jamaican heritage. Like many people from the inner city, I grew up in a council house. I didn’t see many positive examples of men when I was younger and I decided that I didn’t want to be like that. I gave up everything that I was doing, found faith and met my future wife, Sabrina, when I was 21. We now have four beautiful daughters together. Sabrina supported me in establishing a consultancy business and last year we launched our charity, First Class Foundation. We deal with issues such as youth violence, mental health resilience and connecting people to their purpose through employment and training opportunities. Our team is doing some amazing things in support of partners, including the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit and Youth Offending Teams across the region.
IT’S WHAT I DO
I’m a consultant and trainer helping organisations to think differently about how they engage with black and minority ethnic communities. Typically, that involves the delivery of a range of consultancy services, including dynamic training programmes and engagement strategies. Recently, I’ve been working with HS2 to help bring a host of exciting jobs, skills and training opportunities to people across our region.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, I made a lifelong commitment that everything I do will be dedicated to working in partnership with those that want to make a lasting change in the areas of diversity and inclusion. I’m excited and intrigued to see how many of the businesses that made race and diversity statements in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, will develop those words into tangible delivery plans.
I’ve been fortunate enough to win regional and national awards which I am incredibly proud of but it’s the impact made on the lives of others that really matters to me. You may remember the tensions in the community following the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan in 2011. I was on the streets at that time, working to support our young people, and was also consulted by former Prime Minister, David Cameron. Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of people from diverse backgrounds and communities. It’s given me a good understanding of what is needed to help them to prosper. I’m keen to make sure their ambitions are represented in my new role as part of the Legacy and Benefits Committee of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
If I was speaking to my younger self, I would tell myself not to be fearful of anything. Where you come from and the labels attached to you, do not define you. It’s about the daily decisions you make.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
The people. We’re such a youthful city and there is more talent and creativity here than we give ourselves credit for. Birmingham is a beautiful place.
It’s crucial to create time to spend with your family – going on walks or watching films together. My faith plays a critical role in everything I do, it allows me to rejuvenate.