Case Study

Building opportunity from adversity: Martin’s story

22 Feb 2024
“People don’t want to reoffend, people don't want to be in prison, people don’t want to be addicted to substances, they want help,” says Ingeus personal wellbeing mentor Martin.
How does he know?
“… because I’ve come from that to where I am now,” he explains.

As a member of Ingeus’s Commissioned Rehabilitative Services team, Martin gives practical support, a listening ear, encouragement, and hope of better things to come to people on probation. It’s a rewarding but challenging role and one Martin wouldn’t swap for the world: “We do some fantastic work, we’re changing people’s lives,” he says. “I feel really good, I feel really proud of myself, and I feel really happy for them.”

However, Martin’s story isn’t straightforward. It took a 25-month prison sentence to discover his forte for helping people.
Wind back the clock and Martin was a seemingly successful businessman who owned shops, employed staff, and supported his wife and three children. Hating the rut he felt stuck in, the pressure and stress, he drowned his sorrows with drinking and substances and took his eye firmly off the company finances. Subsequently investigated for fraud, he hit rock bottom and was sent to prison for VAT and tax evasion.
It would prove a turning point in his life as he undertook a therapeutic community course to tackle his addiction and became an English mentor for other prisoners on the wing. He discovered he enjoyed helping people and shared his desire to continue doing so to his probation officer following his release. ‘Ingeus are the people to see for this,’ was the response.

Martin joined the Ingeus peer mentor academy, undertaking courses to understand and overcome unwanted behaviours and volunteering to support other Ingeus service users. The rest, as he says, is history. Seeing the impact he could help make on people’s lives, he embraced the comprehensive support Ingeus provided to get him job ready:

“Ingeus supported us so much into getting a job. A person got our CVs absolutely top of the range, another person did interview techniques with us. It was really supported and guided through and then I was successful as a personal wellbeing mentor.

“My lived experience helps other service uses because I can relate to where they are,” concludes Martin. “I’ve been there, done that, into prison. The stress, depression, anxiety… I am in a good position to be able to suggest things that can make a difference. If I can be there to help them, then brilliant.”

Watch Martin's story:

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