"This has given me the confidence and a solid start to my new life outside"

Owen* spent some time in the bike workshop at HMP Liverpoool and then moved to the category D resettlement prison HMP Kirkham where he continued to thrive in the bike workshop under the guidance and support of Instructor, Ray Stuart. 

“Ray would travel from bike shop to bike shop where he came up against brick walls when the mention of a life sentence prisoner working in their shop was mentioned. He spent a lot of his own time and put a lot of faith and trust in me and didn’t give up until he found a placement at Halfords. After weeks of looking and finding me the placement, he then spent a lot more of his own time organising and preparing me for the start of this life-changing opportunity for me.

He made sure I had the correct safety equipment (helmet, lights) and even the right bicycle for me to travel to my workplace at Halfords. Even on one of his days off he organised to ride the route on bicycle with me to show me the best route to take to and from work, not many people would ride 15 miles on their day off just to show them the route, this shows the kind of person Mr Stuart is.

I am so grateful to Halfords for the opportunity but without Mr Stuart going above and beyond none of this would have happened. He has given me constant support with any problems. I have been working at Halfords now for 8 months and have been offered employment at two of their stores. I will be starting full-time employment with Halfords when I am released.”

Owen goes on to describe just what this means for him personally:

“This has given me confidence and a solid start to my new life outside. It has given me a full-time job, stability on release, and helped me to rebuild family ties and built trust with my children again. The promise of employment and stability also helped me to gain my parole. Mr Stuart has given me the opportunity to rebuild my life and I will be forever grateful to him for training me, helping with issues and I think going way beyond his duty to help me.”

Owen* - not his real name