Jimmy, 47, from Torbay, is telling his story about how he overcame his personal barriers in the hope that it may help and inspire others in similar situations.
“I have been engaging with Torbay Community Development Trust to keep busy in the community and I enjoy gardening. I had had a lengthy custodial sentence, and used my time wisely and productively to study in the hope that I would gain full time employment.
“I have faced many barriers, for example, to be accepted after my incarceration including within my family. Alcohol had previously been a problem and physical injuries, all of which are hard to manage and deal with.
“Positive People embraced me as an individual in a non-judgemental way which was refreshing to me. I could just be myself and share my background. I wanted to better myself, and I was able to be open and honest.
“I have also met other people who have problems in their lives – it’s been nice to be able to relate with these people. It shows it wasn’t just me that had problems, it’s other people as well. This has helped my confidence and it is a mutual support. I have had space to grow and connect with new people.
“My future goals are to be working full time, and keeping fit and healthy, which I am now beginning to do. Also, to keep out of trouble with the authorities!
“Since being part of Positive People and Steps Forward I have taken part in weekly meetings and activities, and two gardening projects which has helped me meet new people and build on my self-esteem. Things seem a bit surreal because I am free, have no conditions and have less stress in my life.
“My past life was a chaotic lifestyle and now it is a total change around”.