On the 28th May 2011 the first Fathers Inside course concluded with a total of eleven graduates completing the course.
One of these graduates was Michael who was employed as the Interventions Orderly at the time. My now former colleague, James Old, had spotted his potential and wanted him to be a part of our team, which was at the time in its development stages due to the recent re-roll of the prison to an adult Category C establishment.
Michael took part in the course and shone throughout. When he spoke, people would listen, as he would engage with them in such an honest way that the group wanted to hear more. He understood the content and could link this into his own offending lifestyle.
Following on from the course we asked Michael to become a Fathers Inside mentor. As expected he excelled and continued to demonstrate his abilities to reflect on his past behaviours and assist other students in doing the same; linking in the content of the course and being an ambassador for it in and out of the sessions. As a course graduate he sold the course in such a way that he himself was the best recruitment tool we could have.
Whilst being a course mentor and our orderly, Michael also developed his own project focussed on offering young people an alternative to participation in gang culture, with the support of my colleague and good friend James. This has been very successful and has been delivered to young people engaged with Connexions in the Thames Valley area.
Now released, Michael has been a panel member and key speaker in the Delivering Desistance Symposium at the House of Lords, which was hosted by Safe Ground.
He is at present in talks with various agencies regarding the delivery of his project which include The Met Police, Thames Valley Police, Oxford YOT and Charlton Athletic Community Trust, where he has recently secured paid employment delivering some of their projects.