I was born in Germany and lived there with my mum until I was 11 years old, when I came to Wales to live with my Nan. I knew that my mum was having problems back in Germany, my step dad had committed suicide and her next partner was really violent. This worried me as well as starting a new school in a new country as I didn’t speak any English.
At school I started getting into trouble and hanging out with people who were not a good influence on me, I first took cannabis when I was 14 or 15 and then moved on to other drugs like ‘meow meow’ and mushrooms. My Nan couldn’t cope with my behaviour as I kept getting into trouble and I came to live at Hill House in Chepstow. While I was living here that first time I got sentenced for burglary, TWOK and other driving offences and ended up in a young offenders institute for 8 months. Prison was not good, if you said the wrong thing to someone there was a fight, people used to steal your food and belongings so I just tried to keep my head down and do my time.
When I was released my Nan took me back in, but I still carried on getting into trouble, I just wasn’t able to say no. I was on probation but committed more offences and got a 12 month sentence for TWOK. I was sent to HMP Parc. I turned 18 in prison, it felt really bad, I thought about the things I had done and realised I had to change. This time when I was released I did everything the Youth Offending Team asked me to and kept every appointment, I was released to a bed and breakfast in Newport where I stayed for 3-4 months waiting for supported housing before finally being offered a place back at Hill House with Solas.
I have been living at Hill House for 4 months now and am getting on fine. I am being supported to get my CSCS card so I can attend a fork lift course and will have more chance of getting a job. I did some qualifications in prison and have completed more here with Solas like the OCN in cookery and food safety. Living at Hill House this time has helped me learn to be responsible, I pay my rent on time and I am organised. If I wasn’t living here I would still be in the B & B in Newport and hanging around with my old friends. I don’t see them anymore, I have a girlfriend who is a good influence on me! I no longer touch substances and am back in touch with my family in Germany. I hope to start bidding on a flat soon so I can have a place of my own and to get a job.
I would tell other young people not to get into trouble, its not worth it. It just leads to you getting kicked out of the family home and being put in prison. If friends try and get you into trouble then they are not really your friends’
Barry, Kevin’s Support Worker says ‘he is a model tenant paying his rent on time and keeping his place tidy and he has real ambition.’