‘I messed up really badly but we can all grow as citizens’
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Fast forward to 2020 and I now run a successful social enterprise and work for myself.
I came up with the idea for that business while locked up in HMP Doncaster, naming the project RiteTrax as an affirmation to myself.
After doing eight months in Doncaster and having some of the most interesting experiences of my life, including playing chess with big-man drug dealers, teaching travellers to read and write and doing yoga with murderers, I was moved to an open prison where I completed a business BTEC and nurtured my idea.
I was released from prison and immediately went to my best friend with the idea; we both proposed it to the Prince’s Trust and the ‘idea’ became real.
It was at this point, when I was living on benefits and on tag, that I put the most energy into manifesting my project.
We launched our first event with support of over 50 artists and invested energy into our project.
Five years later and this has gone further than I ever expected – we now have multiple brands running night club events and festival stage takeovers, premises with art studios and a small venue, we run music courses with adults and young people, and best of all, we run music wellbeing groups with ex-prisoners, ex-offenders and people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout all of this, it’s that you have time to reconsider your options and figure out what you really want to do.
I messed up really, really badly and in the process I hurt my family and spent over a year in prison.
However, this experience presented me with an opportunity like I’d never had before to grow on so many levels, taking me well out of my comfort zone into unknown places.
Maybe you too can use this unique opportunity we’ve been presented with this lockdown to grow as a person and as a citizen and use it to your advantage as we enter this ‘new normal’ together.