Jimmy's Story

I had no father. I grew up with my mum, my older sister and younger brother. Mum had a hard time working and looking after us. She became stressed and depressed. I was a child and didn’t know how to deal with my mum being ill. She used to tell us not to worry but it affected everyone a lot.

Growing up was hard. I struggled at school. I had to deal with racism and bullying. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I was angry, upset, asking ‘why me?’ I wanted to be somebody. Even though life was hard I still wanted to achieve certain goals. I’m not giving up what my dreams are.

As a young kid I used to look up to certain people who were doing very well for themselves; the wrong type of guys like drug dealers. My life was up and down; I wanted to have certain things my mum couldn’t afford so I had to start hustling to make money. I started to develop a reputation.

My son was born in 1984. I was going out with a girl at the time, she was cool but we were both young. We made the decision to have my son when I was 17 and she was 15/16. But we didn’t really get on and argued a lot. I used to take him for weekends. She said she was going to give him up so I said that I would take care of him.

I began going well. I was working as a DJ, making money and selling drugs. At 19 everything kind of escalated from there. I started taking drugs. I began with weed and then moved on to hard drugs pretty quickly.

In 1999 I got my first prison sentence which was for 4 years. Prison life was alright. I missed my family and didn’t want to be there but I make the most of it. I had to look after myself. I didn’t ask for anything from anybody, I had to be patient and deal with it. I just knew I had to survive. All in all I have spent 14 years in prison.

In 2013 I made a decision to change. I wanted to be somebody and not just a waste. I was on probation and went to the information centre. I told them that I’d been 3 weeks clean, homeless, nowhere to stay and I need help. I’ve stopped before but it’s easy to get back into that stuff again. Before I knew it they shuffled me around.

This is how I got to know about Nehemiah. I came in for an interview. The same day they called me and told me I’d been accepted. I was so happy. I have completed ‘A New Future’ programme here. Everything is going well.

I am excited about having a new life. I don’t want to live like that again. I am going to college next month and want to become a fitness instructor. I have always been into training. I got certificates but need a couple more; from there I can help people who want to gain/lose weight.

I don’t want to reoffend. This is my last chance. It is all or nothing. I am using this opportunity the best I can, in order to better my life and those around me.