A drummer meets an actress
It all started when drummer Phil Knight met actress Emma Thompson at a fundraising party. They got talking, and Emma ended up inviting Phil to an event in London put on by a Foundation... It was called 'Journey', and it told the story of a young girl trafficked from Moldova. It blew Phil away and was the catalyst for him to try and help in the only way he knew .
Phil drums for a while
Drumming!!!! Yep he was reading through the Guinness Book of World Records one day and came across a Marine who had drummed for over four days and it hit him! "I can beat that!!!". So he set up in the middle of Leicester Square in Central London (where they show all the movies) and on Sunday Morning at 10am he started drumming, the first few hours were OK and then it started to dawn on him what he had undertaken and how much this was going to hurt. After 3 days Phil was in a bad way , he had now been drumming for nearly 72 hours only stopping for toilet breaks every four hours. By now he was hallucinating, aching and starting to go delirious. as well as the fact he was starting to forget why he was there in the first place. After another gruelling 24 hours Phil was in pain (mostly his bum as he had been sitting on it for such a long time). His arms were aching he was crying a lot and even making people around him cry because he was so tired that his mind had gone and he was begging people around him to let him sleep. This is why sleep deprivation is used as a torture because after so many days of being kept awake your mind will do anything to close your eyes. By this point with half a day to go Phil was desperate to sleep, he was falling asleep as he was playing and then something amazing happened on the last day, everyone who had been supporting Phil over the past four days, his wife and family, the foundation, homeless people, supporters, the foundation and friends all suddenly turned up! He had over 2000 people in front of him cheering him on and Leicester Square blocked up! He was still desperate to sleep but in the last ten minutes of the event after nearly 108 hours of drumming Phil woke up! He drummed so hard that he thought he was at a rock concert so when he finished he threw his drumsticks that he had been using for the whole event into the crowd (which he really regrets now). The next 24 hours after he had finished to huge applause were weird for Phil. he slept for 14 hours straight after he had finished and the next day woke up to many press calls but the biggest job he had to do was submit the paperwork to get his world record but if you look in the Guinness Book, you won't see him. Something felt wrong about claiming a prize off the back of so much suffering undergone by the girl that inspired him, why should he get a prize when shen never did. It did not sit well with him and after the length of time it takes to drink a coffee he had decided that doing it for her was Just Enough, so he threw all of the World Record claim in the bin and went back to his day job of drumming.
Living in a BOX!!!
After the drumming Phil always felt a hole in his life and that he should do more. So what did he do... He got a big metal box. The idea was to place himself in a public place and be trapped in plain sight, in 2011 this is what every modern day slavery and human trafficking message was all about so Phil thought "Let's do this in real life". Little did he know what this was going to lead to. At 5pm on a sunny Monday in July 2011 Phil emotionally hugged his wife good bye (cried) and then stepped in side the box to huge applause and TV cameras, then suddenly, silence. The doors slammed shut and that was it for two weeks. Phil instantly felt nervous about what he had decided to do. The isolation was completely over whelming, it just felt like he had been lifted off of the Earth, literally there were hundreds of people outside but he could not hear any of them! He was completely cut off. He then took in his surroundings. A sleeping bag on the floor, bottles of water, dried breakfast cereal, a bouncy ball, a sharpie pen and a chemical toilet! It was hot, small and the two weeks that lay ahead were not going to be easy. Nights were very cold and Phil had a sleeping bag but laying on the wooden floor ended up giving him soars both on his front and his back. He had no toothpaste or deodorant so by the end of the two weeks he was a very smelly man, he had not communicated with the outside world so when he stepped out after two long weeks of being lonely he had no idea that London was on fire! Yep the London Riots had kicked off whilst he was trapped in the container.
Imagine what that must have been like! You enter a container, the world is peaceful, you come out the other side... London has torn itself apart. Phil's family who had come up to see him leave the box had to leave early from the site as everyone was worried that rioters were going to start tearing through London again and the day Phil left happened to be the worst night. All of the major news crews that were on route to film him leave got sent to Tottenham, Children that had become so supportive of him and his mission did not want to come anywhere near... The whole thing had not gone to plan and became an even longer torturous event for Phil. Plus of course he started getting trolled online which he had never experienced before. Truly vial messages were being sent to him saying he was only trying to become famous! It broke his heart and nearly his sole. He was in a bad way emotionally and after two weeks stuck in the container he was told the whole events fundraising for the foundation was messed up so after two weeks Phil had raised the grand total of £250 due to a mess up on the page that he was not told about which meant the entire cost of the project was given to him, over £5000 in total...
Depression to Inspiration
Over the next days from his release Phil went to go back to work as a drum teacher only to find out that every school he worked in had finally been hit by the recession and school cuts meant that he then lost 90% of his income as they could no longer afford music lessons. What made it even harder was that he was being trolled on the internet by people slamming him for going into the box saying that he was doing it just to become famous, so there he was three days after being released sitting outside a school on the phone to his wife in tears apologising to her that he felt that by trying to help people understand the anguish of trafficked people he had ruined their lives. For a long time afterwards he fell into a pit of depression that he never thought he would escape from. Then, a few days after all of the bad news and the worry about where Phil thought his life was going a local school in Camden got in touch and asked him to come in and talk to the children about why he had locked himself in a shipping container, he thought why not and in that first hour long talk to 8 year olds' an idea hit him. As he spoke to the children they were laughing at his story about where he had to go to the toilet whilst in the container but because he was able to make the children laugh he could then make them listen because they thought he was cool. And so he had it! If he could make children LAUGH then he could make them LISTEN and that might mean that they LEARN. So the three pillars that make Just Enough Group still live by and always will.
How hard could it be???
So he set up an organisation called Just Enough, to go into schools and talk to children about slavery and how they could help stop it, Phil got given £5000 by the board he and Greg Camburn (an old saxophone playing friend) who signed up to be his Chairman set about building a proper organisation to help maker the world a better place. Below is a picture taken in the teams first ever school in 2013!
As ever life was not going to be straight forward for Phil! So he now had an organisation, the amazing people at Angels the Costumiers gave him a little office to get him started, he hired his first full time member of staff, his little sister Sam and set about making a great business, yeah, because it was going to be that easy...
Problem 1 - After hiring Sam he realised he needed schools to pay for the workshops (No one knew what Modern Slavery was)
Problem 2 - Wage bills start coming in so Phil decides not to pay himself until JE can afford it
Problem 3 - Every one of those first months JE makes no money at all, The £5000 from the Board vanishes and none of Phil's predictions come true
Problem 4 - His poor sister must find a job as he can no longer afford to pay her
Problem 5 - He could not find any big trusts that would support his idea because they just wanted to help victims and preventative measures were not taken seriously back then
Problem 6 - Schools still did not know what Modern Slavery was
Problem 7 - Phil had a huge bill from the Box still to pay
Problem 8 - He had to try and earn some money to pay bills at home
Problem 9 - After a year he was not getting paid from JE so was drum teaching in the evenings thanks to the support of his mother in laws school so was working at JE in the day, teaching in the evenings, and playing at gigs and teaching at the weekends
Problem 10 - Schools still didn't know what Modern Slavery was
This is to list but a few, At one point Phil was so broke that when he managed to get some more money together to hire a staff member to help him she would go out for lunch on payday and he would eat a spoonful of Nutella to stop from going hungry. And then two people changed everything...
Phil needed help, he had heard that the Met Police had a Modern Slavery Unit led by some bloke called Kevin Hyland, they had created a thing called the Modern Slavery Helpline which people could phone to report any signs of slavery! So Phil thought that could go on the children's certificates handed out in the 9 schools that him and the team had managed to book that year! So he took this idea to Mr Hyland who was the first ever person to take the idea of JE seriously, this led to JE being introduced as part of the Met Polices tack ticks to prevent slavery before it happened and suddenly Phil and JE got taken seriously! Schools went up! We can pretty much pinpoint our success to that one meeting plus one other...
Now Phil had the support of the Police he needed a sponsor, some company who would want to support this work, enter Tina Varns and the fabulous Waitrose. After a couple of meetings Phil and Tina got on very well and Tina bought into Phil's vision, So they bought in for 3 years worth of sponsorship, £25,000 a year for three years to help us grow and get out there plus other smaller contracts they helped us create and frankly if Waitrose and Kevin Hyland had not have been there JE would never have gotten to where it has today!
We Get Bigger But for the Saddest of Reasons
We work with the Met Police and Waitrose! You would not believe how many doors that would open for us as a little organisation! But it was for the saddest of reasons! You will notice in 2015 we saw a huge jump in schools.
2013 - 9 Schools
2014 - 80 Schools
2015 - 183 Schools
2016 - 213 Schools
2017 - 355 Schools
Yes the Paris Terror Attack! The Monday after this horrific weekend Phil was in a school to talk about Slavery the school asked if instead he could talk to the children about what had gone on in Paris. He agreed and in 10 minutes devised the Workshop that we still pretty much do to this day! He talked about being safe and not being afraid and how Guy Fawkes was Radicalised. This was then picked up by hundreds of schools and JE became an education organisation on difficult subjects rather than just modern slavery. We had bookings flying in from all over the country for this and once the schools knew who we were they started booking us for modern slavery too.
But this was to lead to one of the saddest days Phil was to witness
Whilst working in Manchester on slavery workshops in schools Phil was staying in a hotel 2 minutes from the Manchester Arena he heard a loud noise followed by so many police sirens! The next morning the team were bought in to Manchester to go into as many schools as possible to talk to the children about what had unfolded at the arena the night before. Phil was asked a question by a little girl that will stay with him. She asked "my best friend went to the gig and I can't call her, do you think she is dead?". That evening he went to the vigil in the square and stood with some of the most inspirational people he had ever seen! The cheers when the Muslims walked into the centre parading the slogan "Not in My Name", the people of all religions embracing and coming together to say we are not afraid, it was one of the most over whelming moments of his life and when he decided it did not matter how complicated and difficult running an organisation like JE was he could never stop! This work, this education of children around stuff that made them afraid and not able to focus on their education was going to be his life's work to eradicate and create a future where children could be children! He vowed there and then he didn't care what the subject was he and JE would take it on and make sure kids knew what it was and how to stop it! Since then we have worked on Hate Crime, Problem Plastic, Inclusion, Racism and more recently Knife Crime!