“I’d never done life legally before. Everything was new – opening a bank account and actually buying something with money … not nicking it.
“I was in jail most of my life – 20 odd years, just in and out constantly.
“I thought I need to do something different, so after I got out of jail last I went to rehab.
“One of my mates had been working with Recycling Lives, through the Achieve programme so I enquired about it.
“Neil and Rob came up to see me and they said that initially, on paper, they weren’t going to take me in – because of my criminal record and everything. I think maybe they worried they’d be setting me up to fail. But they met with me and they let me in so I feel lucky to have got in. Maybe they saw that I needed a chance.
“I moved in in January 2020 and I haven’t looked back since.
“Lockdown got a bit tedious, a bit draining, but you didn’t have to worry about paying the bills and compared to jail it was more like being in a penthouse for me.
“I did a placement with United Utilities and now they’ve taken me on. It’s going great. There’s plenty of opportunity to move up – as long as you work hard.
“Neil and Rob have been absolutely great for me.
“I’ve got myself a car, moved in with my partner and we’ve done the place up – life’s looking good. It’s a dream, actually.
“I don’t know why it took me 25 years to realise what life’s about. I was so wrapped up in drugs but this has opened my eyes. It’s like a breath of fresh air.”

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