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I was released from prison in January 2020 after serving a 7-year sentence. In the twelve months since that date Red Rose Recovery have been integral to my progress. I have found both staff and fellow members to be supportive and non-judgemental. The nature of the support I get from this organisation derives from a spirit of mutual help and a commitment to move forward.

On the practical side, despite Covid, I have been able to participate in groups that have bolstered my confidence and help maintain the equilibrium of my mental health. This last year would have been difficult in any circumstances but during a pandemic the danger of isolation could have been catastrophic. By engaging with Red Rose, I have been able to be welcomed as part of a “family” and feel truly part of something. Although I have not physically met anybody from Red Rose, I feel I have a solid network of support and can call many of those people my friends.

My aim is to set up my own business online and that has been nurtured and supported by members of Red Rose staff, many of whom have walked the path I have walked. Their help has been both inspirational and practical. In December I applied for funding through Stepping Stones and was successful. I have been awarded £1000 towards the setting up costs. The money is extremely welcome but what is perhaps more important is the knowledge that I am surrounded by people who believe in me.

I cannot praise or thank Red Rose too fulsomely. Being part of an organisation who are not put off by my past but who are focused on what I CAN do or become is empowering and humbling. It makes me want to be part of helping others and I will be exploring that path as I move forward in my recovery.