THE stories of how Bradford's young people overcame battles with peer pressure, crime and drug addiction have been shared in a short documentary.

Filmed by 24-year-old filmmaker Haaris Ajaz, 'Confession' looks at the life-changing work at the Mary Magdalene Community Centre in one of Bradford's most deprived areas.

From knife crime, hate crime, county lines and anti-social behaviour, the Con-Fession programme prevents offending and helps guide them towards positive role models and healthy lifestyles.

The documentary warns that the year-on-year cuts to youth centres, not just in the district but across the country, has had a direct impact on crime rates, making Mary Magdalene's work even more vital and poignant in modern times.

The documentary features Hussnain Ali, a youth engagement officer for West Yorkshire Police, who visited a similar centre in his teenage years.

His former mentor, Sharat Hussain, a youth worker and prison mentor now at Mary Magdalene, said: "He has a really interesting story. 20 years ago he came to my youth centre. 20 years later he's come back as a police officer."

Hussnain is captured during a deep talk about the real life impact of knife crime - the loss of life and what it means in jail terms.

He tells Haaris: "Sometimes they do regret it, sometimes they don't. That's why it's important we carry out these workshops in terms of making people aware of the consequences."

Some of the teenagers are filmed shortly after the session, armed instead with the knowledge that knife crime is, in their words, "not worth it".

Later in the film, Haaris shows how boxing classes have saved many young boys from falling into crime; even helping one stop his drug habit.

"Drug dealing is the biggest root to all evils in Bradford amongst our young people," Sharat said.

As Haaris' first documentary, the chance to film in his hometown and show positive actions to tackle social issues was "meaningful".

The Allerton resident said: "From what they were telling me it's really changing things for the better. I hope that's a thing that came across in the documentary. There's a lot of good that's going on and their lives are definitely changing.

"One of the lads who's 15 talked about how he was peer pressured into smoking. I didn't put his whole story in the video. I knew this sort of stuff was going on but it's opened my eyes as I didn't realise how much of a problem it was."

Watch the full documentary on Youtube via