Service User Success Story – Chris
Chris is now a Programme Facilitator with RISE, but he first met us as a Service User. He is just one of the people who has transformed his life with the help of the programmes we deliver.
He told us his story…
“I was a good kid. I was brought up in a loving family. On leaving school I got a job as a salesman. I was also a talented DJ and when I was 18 I became the resident DJ at a top London nightclub. There I found myself mixing with rich and famous people and inevitably I came into contact with a lot of alcohol and drugs.
Over time, things slowly started to unravel. I developed a drug habit, became unreliable at work and eventually lost my job. I moved to Ibiza where my drug habit became worse and by the time I came back to the UK, I was a full-blown addict. Not only was I unreliable; I was unemployable. I hung around with other addicts and got caught up in a lifestyle where I would do anything to get the money to feed my addiction. I committed robberies, theft and fraud. I was involved in anti-social behaviour and I became very angry. I was always in trouble with the police and was in and out of jail. I turned my back on the people who cared for me and hung around with people who stroked my ego. It was a nightmare.
I became homeless, I didn’t trust the Probation Officers who were trying to help me until I met one who saw through all my lies and encouraged me to go to rehab. I started to get my life back into order and didn’t get into trouble for six years. I then got a chance to do some driving work but at the time I didn’t have a licence. I got stopped by police but panicked and attempted to drive off. Unfortunately, I ran over a policeman’s foot but when I did I stopped immediately. I was so worried that I hurt him badly, I just wanted to see if he was alright and apologise to him. In court, the Judge said I should have gone back to jail but he heard about how concerned I was for the policeman and instead he placed me on Probation and assigned me to the Thinking Skills Programme with RISE.
The programme was a revelation to me. It helped me work on my thinking and helped me to find patterns in my behaviour which continued to cause me problems. I was very enthusiastic about what I was learning and the Facilitators working with me became aware of how my positivity was rubbing off on other group members. At the end of the programme I was asked if I would like to do volunteer work for RISE.
As part of my volunteer work I attended Induction sessions and spoke to Service Users about my life and experience of being on the programme. I also took part in a mentoring course with RISE, gave me new skills which further helped me to work with people assisting them to move towards making positive change to their lives.”
Three years later and Chris is now a Facilitator on the Thinking Skills Programme…
“When I come to work in the morning, there is a bridge at Canary Wharf that I walk across. Three years ago, Alan came to meet me and interviewed me for an article. Harriet also came along and she took some photos of me on the bridge. All of this later ended up in the RISE brochure.
I think of that day every time I walk across that bridge, laptop in hand, ready to go and deliver a session. I feel part of something now. I feel part of RISE. It’s our company. It’s my company. I also feel that I am making a positive impact upon society, just like RISE made a positive impact upon me.
Running sessions is amazing. I see the positive response in those attending, and sometimes the changes are small but other times they are major. I am beginning to learn that it is healthy to not concentrate on the great things we do but to value the good things as much if not more.
I completed a TSP programme and since then haven’t stopped trying to help people make changes to their lives. Now I have a home where I can do this with other like-minded people. I hope we realise just how powerful we are. We change our service users, we change our communities, we can change society.”
RISE has its own Service User Council which is at the heart of our Service User engagement strategy. This ensures the views of the people who use our services are heard. Those who successfully complete programmes have the opportunity to provide feedback and engage in the process of helping us further develop the quality of the services we provide. Service Users can also get involved by gaining mentoring skills and attending programme inductions, talking to new group members. We are proud to say that a former Service User is now a member of our Facilitator team and delivering Programmes. This is a testimony to the success of our engagement strategy.
To find out more about our Thinking Skills Programme, or how we involve our Service Users in our work, please contact us.