Roles ‘n’ Role Models: Q&A with Romario Simpson

Physical fitness, movement and breath have always been important to Romario Simpson, one of our youth mentors at Gloves Not Gunz (GNG) and a yoga teacher with Urban Yogis UK (UYUK). From competing in a national gym competition as a teenager, to graduating as a professional actor from The Academy Of Live & Recorded Arts in his twenties, Romario’s humble enthusiasm and self-motivation makes him a true role model. Romario’s big smile matches his compassionate, fun-lovin’ spirit…. And for anyone who’s met him, you’ll agree his warmth and positive energy is authentic as it is infectious.

As Croydon community gathered at the Boxing Club to celebrate Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogis UK turning five in August ’22, we sat with Romario to chat about his role, the importance of breath, and how yoga can help young people in the UK.

That Smile… Romario in Tree Pose at our Community Day in August | image by Bevin Sutherland

Tell us about yourself and your role at GNG and UYUK?
Hello, my name is Romario and I am a youth mentor with Gloves Not Gunz and a yoga teacher with Urban Yogis UK.

Community Day UYUK

Celebrating UYUK and GNG Community Day 2022, image by Bevin Sutherland

How did you get involved with GNG and UYUK?
It began during the first lockdown. I used to do a security job, and then lockdown happened and everything shut down. I thought: ‘What more can I give?’, and I’ve always been interested in youth work because I grew up in a community that was under privileged and I had a lot of negative influences and no role models. So I thought I’d like to be a role model to these youths growing up, and got involved with Gloves Not Gunz.

GNG saw the passion in me, and they trained me up with health and safety and then trained me to be a yoga teacher. I completed my qualification in October 2021, so it’s almost been a year since I’ve been teaching.

Community Day Romario Simpson

An inspiring role model: Romario leads a Yoga Session during Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland

What are the challenges that exist for young people in UK, and how can a discipline like a martial arts or yoga help?
I think a lot of the challenges for young people in the UK is the influence of social media, and how much it can change a young person’s perception—how much it can influence their everyday decision making.

A practice like yoga can help just calm the mind and bring people back to self, because it is hard to take time for self.

When young people take that five or ten minutes just to breathe, that can help their psyche in not letting all these influences corrupt them.

0Romario Demonstrates Seated Twist in a Group Yoga Sesh at Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland

Who is your role model?
My role model is the incredible actor Denzel Washington. He has nothing but positive things to say to the world and he uses his influence to do so. Big up Denzel!

Follow Urban Yogis UK on Instagram, here. 

Follow Gloves Not Gunz on Instagram, here.

Romario Simpson

Side by Side: Coming Together at Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland

Images by Bevin Sutherland

Gloves Not Gunz Hosts Free Community Day To Celebrate 5-Year Success

Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK will celebrate their success over the past five years at a community day in Croydon on Friday 19th August 2022.

The Community Day which will be held from 3pm Friday 19th August 2022 at Norbury Pavilion, Croydon, will see staff, volunteers, ambassadors, stakeholders, and the local community come together to celebrate five years of creating positive futures, inspiring change, and preventing crime through boxing and yoga. The event is free to attend and will include boxing, yoga, jiu jitsu, football sessions, workshops, activities, a BBQ, and refreshments.

Gloves Not Gunz, which was set up by Directors and local dads, Adam Ballard, and Ben Eckett, has had a profound impact on young people and communities over the past five years. It has worked with over 3,000 young people across the Borough of London, delivering over 350 of its programmes. These range from mentoring, community sports sessions, school workshops, community outreach and community interventions which include setting up sport/education sessions in crime hotspots. The organisation has also developed a stellar reputation, receiving a Metropolitan Police Service Commendation and an invitation to consult parliament in the All-Parliamentary Group as a result of its positive work within the community.

Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s Director, Adam Ballard commented: “It has been incredible to see the success of both organisations over the past five years. We wanted to celebrate this milestone by giving back to the community, our staff, volunteers and partners and stakeholders. Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s hopes to see as many people as possible attend the event which is completely free and get involved with the sessions and activities taking place. In addition, we hope the day will further raise awareness of the work we do and inspire more young people to get involved with our programmes and use the power of sport to positively impact their lives.”

The event will be held at: Norbury Pavilion, Croydon, SW16 3LX from 3pm – 7pm on Friday 19th August. All are welcome.

To find out more about Urban Yogi’s, click here.

Gloves Not Gunz Community Day