Luke is part of the team that launched a pioneering programme, 'Better than Well', to celebrate and support University of Birmingham students in recovery. An estimated one in 20 people have overcome a problem with alcohol, drugs, gambling or other addictions. For young people in early recovery, education can form a crucial part of their recovery. However, the transition to University may present challenges, especially combined with leaving family and friends and the social demands of campus life. Using his own experience, Luke has created a space where people feel safe to share and has formed a supportive community on campus.
What’s your connection to the University?
I graduated from Birmingham in 2020, with first class honours in BA Political Science and Social Policy. I am currently a student on the MSc Mental Health at the University, and will be graduating later in July. I work full time at the University as the Better Than Well collegiate recovery programme manager.
Do you have any favourite sports? What do you like about them?
I love track and field sports, particularly 100, 200 and 400 metres. To see athletes reach those levels of speed and explosive energy through dedication, persistence and courage is truly something to behold. It’s definitely the ‘main event’ for me in something like the Commonwealth Games. I am also a die-hard Aston Villa fan and have been following them since the day I was born! Football is the people’s game and highlights the power of collective action for me.
While growing up, did you follow any particular sports stars?
I was a football fan as far back as I can remember and the team/players that stand out for me in my memory is the 1990/91 Aston Villa squad with Tony Daley, Tony Cascarino, Dwight York, Paul McGrath and David Platt. This was the greatest Villa team of my era and I literally worshipped this squad at the time. In terms of the men’s 100 metres, Usain Bolt is an incredible athlete and an absolute joy to watch. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce is another amazing Jamaican athlete.
What are you most looking forward to during the Games?
Definitely the men’s and women’s 100, 200, 400 metres but also the basketball, boxing and table tennis.
How does it feel to know your alma mater is hosting the Games?
I’m very proud that this great institution is hosting some of the Games, it feels great that my place of work is part of putting this great city on the map.
How does it feel to be selected as a batonbearer?
I am an immensely proud Brummie, I can’t state this enough. This city is a blueprint for how communities, races, religions and cultures can live together and come together in beautiful harmonious unity. To be representing Birmingham and the University is an emotional thing for me, to give back in any small way to the city that shaped me and the institution that opened the world up to me is a huge honour.