Junior was referred to our Newham Floating Support service for help finding somewhere to live after he completed a prison sentence.

I went to prison for Actual Bodily Harm. After going into a shop for a drink, I was physically and racially abused, and a man attacked me with a shutter pole. We struggled, and I punched him and fractured his skull. I’m scared of getting into confrontation now, because I know what a simple little thing can do. It was a freak accident and I ended up getting a prison sentence for it.

I now look at my prison sentence as a blessing in disguise. I chose to make use of that time, and I actually achieved a diploma. The course was the full works of computers, from building, maintenance, health and safety, customer care – everything! I used to work as a painter and decorator and on building sites but, before I went to prison, I suffered hearing loss as a result of a bike accident so I’m now a hazard on site. My time in prison helped me get qualifications for a new trade.  

When I was released, I was referred to SHP to help me find somewhere to live. They helped me to find my own place in Tottenham, within walking distance from my son. Without them helping me, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. Maybe I’d be on the streets.

Education is the key to life.

Communicating over the phone is very hard for me because of my hearing loss, but my support worker Paul has made calls to the DWP, my landlord, the council, my probation officer… he’s also helped me get on training, and I’ve recently aced another exam.

You don’t want nobody around you that’s gonna break down your ego, break down your confidence. People that are going to boost your confidence – that is the people you need around you. The support you have around you can determine if you achieve or if you fail. The people I have around me, they want me to achieve, they’re pushing me and that’s why I stick with them.

Now, I’m volunteering at SHP and teaching other clients IT skills. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can get a job in software testing - I want to do something that’s going to keep my mind going.

The first thing I’d say to someone leaving prison is, "Think before you do anything" and, “Do you want to go back there?” Even though I came out with some education, I don’t believe prison is the place for any human being. Education is the key to life.