Dan is now inspiring others
19 Jun 2023
He’d been in and out of prison all his life and was battling a drug problem. Dan, aged 30, admits he was “broken” when he was referred to the CFO Activity Hubs
programme for help to rebuild his life. The joint-funded contract, delivered by Ingeus’s justice division in the North East, provides tailored help and support to offenders who have disengaged from society.
“I was on probation and I didn’t really want help, if I’m honest. I wasn’t willing to accept any help because I thought I knew better,” says Dan. “I ended up getting referred to the CFO Activity Hub in Durham and I didn’t want to be there.”
The CFO Activity Hubs help offenders to reintegrate into society. Once referred by probation colleagues, service users are taken through a series of interventions and given wraparound support to help them move forward with their lives.
“Meeting them was overwhelming because I was accepted there,” says Dan. “They didn’t just look at me as a homeless junkie, I was treated with warmth, (they were) kind and caring. At the time I was broken… They helped me with things – from housing, to my rehabilitation, through my drug use.” He adds that he received the help he needed “in every aspect” of his life.
Explaining how the process works, CFO Activity Hubs head of delivery Chris O’Connor says: “We’ll do an initial assessment, just to identify areas that they would like help with. It’s tailored to that individual, it’s not one size fits all, and we’ll start looking at the help that they need.”
As well as accessing support for accommodation, health, finance and debt, education, employment and training, service users can also meet positive role models and peers with lived experience of the justice system. Dan is now a CFO Activity Hubs peer mentor, engaging with service users and supporting them as they try to overcome their problems.
Dan says: “What I’m doing now is basically what someone did to me the day I walked into that hub. Asking how I was feeling… I was broken… I was dying inside. So, to be able to give that back, it’s rewarding. I’ve got emotional empathy for people… I’ve walked that life, I’ve lived that life and I know how hard it is to get out of that rut. To give it back… it’s amazing.”
Commissioned by the HM Prison and Probation Service Co-financing Organisation, the programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund. As well as running community-based hubs with its partners, Ingeus also has a custodial Activity Hub focusing on veterans.