Imagine millions and millions of holes, deep, dark and dangerous but safer than what you think is on the other side. Staying in the hole means you know the devil you'll face and you can console yourself that it's too deep to get yourself out on your own and that who is ever going to help someone like you? And after a while your eyes get used to the darkness and your heart gets numb to the pain of the place.
Then imagine that these millions and millions of holes are crammed full of millions and millions of children and young people, languishing at the bottom of these caverns, scared to try and get out, happy to be down there; better to reign in hell then serve in heaven, right?
Then imagine yourself, stood at the lip of the hole and you're kneeling there and you're offering your hand into the darkness; blind faith, you could get pulled in, bitten or hear the echoes of abuse thrown at you from the pit.
Then imagine yourself surprised because you feel a hand smaller than yours take your hand and start to pull itself out of the hole, sometimes they slip and you think you're going to lose them or get pulled down with them and sometimes the grip gets so loose you're sure you don't have the strength anymore to pull them up. But you don't give up.
And then, out of the hole emerges a person, blinking and spluttering into the light. They did all the hard work to scale the walls, you just offered them a hand to get out.
Dedicated to the 14-16 Brentwood Engagement Programme.