“It all started because of a girl. I felt lost and selfish. I let myself be led by my heart and I didn’t care about the consequences. Nothing else mattered and so I followed her. That meant a life on the streets; homeless, drugs, violence. It wasn’t pretty but I just wanted to be with her.
“Two years on, a stint in prison and walking away from her was one of the hardest things I have had to do but I don’t regret it because now I am on my way to a life that I can feel proud of. I heard other people talking about Young Gloucestershire and seeing their success made me think, if they can do it, so can I.
“To begin with it was just somewhere to go – somewhere to talk to happy, smiley people who were pleased to see me. But then it was so much more than that. They helped me search for work and helped keep my motivation up. There were so many highs and lows and setbacks where I just wanted to quit and go back to my old life, making easy money on the streets. But the staff really pushed me on.
“My life is so different now. I am working full time as a Recycling Loader on the bins - up at 6am five days a week. It’s great to have a purpose and feel like I’m proving everyone wrong. It’s only a temp job to start with but I know if I keep my head down and show them what I can do, it will turn in to more. I’m determined to prove myself now – I have come too far and got too much to lose.”