[ Back ]


Personal stories: Kevin

A former drug addict has become a successful paid chef a year after his release from prison. 

Kevin, who was left homeless after his family disowned him because of his criminal past and drug addiction, has made positive steps to turn his live around.

He has worked with his Responsible Officer to find suitable accommodation on his release at a shelter. Initially, the homeless charity refused Kevin a place at the centre because they considered him to be a ‘serious risk’. But because Kevin was positively engaging with KSS CRC and was no longer using drugs, the charity agreed with Kevin’s Responsible Officer that he could stay. This was a positive step for Kevin who had nowhere else to go and was very vulnerable – he had been diagnosed with depression and other mental health issues and had to take medication to help aid his recovery.

After securing his place, Kevin threw himself into life at the centre.

Soon, he was given the responsibility of running the kitchen, which included buying food, cooking and designing the menus. He also spent time training others to work in the kitchen.

During his time at the centre, he continued to work on his self-esteem and became a peer mentor for vulnerable young people who needed the support.

Kevin’s dream was to become a qualified chef and work on a cruise ship. His work experience gave him the confidence to start volunteering as a chef at a local pub, and later to apply for a paid position in a similar role.

Kevin was offered the paid position, but when his existing manager heard of his plans, he asked Kevin to stay and offered him a full-time paid position at the centre.

Kevin accepted the offer – he wanted to be in a familiar environment and to stay loyal to the manager who knew his story and had put his trust in him.

He continued working at the centre in his new paid post, but was now ready to move on to new accommodation – the shelter had only ever been temporary accommodation.

Because Kevin had been a great support to the younger and more vulnerable residents, they threw him a leaving party, which he says ‘moved him to tears’.

Kevin is now looking at how to fix other problems in his life and is slowly starting to build bridges with his mother. They communicate on social media and Kevin is looking forward to feeling confident enough to invite his mother to see him. He also hopes to meet all of his family when he goes to meet his sister who has recently had a child.

*Photo posed by a model