A hard living, disillusioned, ex social worker becomes the unlikely saviour to an anarchic gang of joy-riding, drug taking, thieving, out of control, care home runaways.
Eleven-year old Urban Grimshaw is Britain’s most runaway child, he’s even been on TV’s Crimewatch. His mother is a junkie and his father might as well be dead. He can’t read or write, and he doesn’t go to school. His average day is spent sitting round a bonfire with his mates smoking drugs and stealing cars. When he meets his mother’s new friend ‘Chop’, a 37 year old, disillusioned, ex-social worker also living on society’s margins, on one of Leeds’ roughest estates, the two become firm friends.
But even ‘Chop’ with his own penchant for drink, drugs and hard living is shocked by the state of Urban’s life. After much soul searching, he resolves to clean up his own act and do his utmost to save the kid. But as their friendship deepens, Urban introduces him to the Shed Crew – the anarchic gang of kids between the ages of ten and fourteen; joy-riding, thieving runaways, no strangers to drugs or sex and it’s only then that we see exactly how long the road to civilization really is.
When ex-social worker Bernard Hare turned his startling experiences with a group of young delinquents into a novel it was described as one of the year’s most compelling and best selling books. “Urban and the Shed Crew” is a stunning piece of ethnography described by ‘The Guardian’ as “moving but never sanctimonious, another City of God, this time for Britain rather than Brazil.”