What organisation were you with when you heard about AIR Network?
JW was released from custody in August 2018 whereby he was subject to a 2-year licence supervised by London CRC Integrated Offender Management Team. JW was referred to AIR Network by his allocated Offender Manager.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself before coming to AIR Network?
JW states that prior to working with AIR Network he had spent most of his life committing commercial burglaries to fund his heroin addiction. This led to him serving a total of 6 prison sentences between 6 months – 4 ½ years throughout his life. JW believes his downward spiral towards his criminal career began when he was a young child where he suffered from extensive physical abuse at the hands of his step father which he states lead to him jumping from a window at the age of 6 sustaining extensive injuries which has caused him to suffer from chronic pain all his life. At 19 years old he began using recreational drugs to dull his pain and memories from his childhood, this led onto him using Class A drugs by the age of 21. JW began to commit burglaries in hotels all around London to fund his addiction.
How did you feel about yourself before you came to AIR?
JW states that at the height of his addiction he was using anywhere between £100 -£1000 per day on illicit substances. His lifestyle consisted of him being in co-dependant relationships with other drug users, using drugs daily, gambling and committing crime before being sent to prison which is a cycle that continued up until 2018. He says that at this time he felt worthless and didn’t believe anything would change for him and his death due to this lifestyle was inevitable.
What is the best thing about AIR Network for you?
JW states that Air network offered him an alternative positive way to use his time specifically in the gym. He also feels AIR staff offer so much encouragement, motivation and non-judgemental practical support. JW says that he feels able to contact any member of staff who is always happy to help him and appreciates the regular calls checking in on him. He is due to complete his licence period this August which will be the first time ever he has got to the end of a licence period. He states that AIR Network have contributed to his success.
What has AIR Network helped you do since you got involved
Since working with AIR Network JW has improved his fitness level and feels he now has a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. He also has received practical support which includes, applying for financial grants to secure photo ID that allowed him to open a bank account, help completing forms, Support around accessing educational courses, help to purchase furniture and clothing following years on the street.
What would you like to be doing in the short and long term future?
JW is interested in using the qualifications he has gained in mentoring and Information, advice and guidance to secure full time paid employment working with people dealing with homelessness and substance abuse. He would like to continue his own recovery and continued abstinence.
What would you say to anyone interested in joining AIR Network?
JW would say to anyone thinking of working with AIR Network,” If you are ready to make changes to your lifestyle, ensure you take full advantage of this service” , “fully embrace the support” “you have tried your own way alone now try with AIR support”.
Positive changes made by JW
- Successfully completed Nehemiah Christian rehabilitation programme (21 months)
- Abstinent from all substances since August 2018
- Successful move on into independent accommodation
- Completion of Information advise and guidance course through St Giles
- Secured his Birth certificate, drivers licence and passport
- Complied with his licence conditions
- Has been in a positive, stable relationship for 1 year
- Has completed volunteering and peer mentoring courses and roles.
- Increased involvement with his church
- Regained contact with his family
- Jogs for increased fitness and positive mental health