"I have very fond memories of growing up as a child; I am one of 15 children, I have nine brothers and five sisters. I am from a travelling background and would often work with my father and brothers on the land we lived on. When I was younger we travelled around the country seeing family and finding work. My fondest memory was learning skills from my dad, such as fishing. When I was around 14, my mother became ill and we moved into a house. This is when I became exposed to crime and drugs. School was a very unhappy place for me, my siblings and I were often bullied because we were travellers. I often wouldn’t go to school and instead turned to crime and drugs. I was 14 when I first went to prison. After my first prison sentence I was in and out of prison for 14 years. I actually taught myself to read and write in prison from the newspapers we were given.
During one of my last sentences I saw my brother who was serving a 13 year sentence. Seeing what prison had done to him made me realise that I couldn’t live this life style forever. During my time in and out of prison I had two amazing sons. I realise now how much of their lives I have missed and do not want to miss anymore. I do not want them to see the life I had as normal and idolise it in anyway. I am rebuilding my life so I can provide a better future for my sons.
I’ve been at Emmaus Cambridge for just over a month now. Emmaus is giving me the stability and support that I was lacking. I work in the Shabby chic department, an area that I really enjoy. It is very rewarding seeing my upcycled goods on sale in our shop. Knowing that I have increased the value of items is something I take great pride in."