When he joined us over five years ago, Emanuel* was our first day-release trainee. Climbing the ranks, Emanuel worked for several years as a manager at Tap Social, and it is no exaggeration to say it was impossible to imagine the organisation without him during this time.
I am a Black British man who grew up in North London; my childhood was affected by the impact of gang culture and city life. I think it is important that people with my kind of life experiences be centrally involved in these kinds of projects, as my lived experience of the issues gives me a unique insight.
MY TIME AT TAP
When I went to a presentation by the Tap team in the prison, I could see the problems with rehabilitation that they were tackling, and I really liked the sound of the opportunity they were offering.
I did a bit of everything at Tap: taking and preparing orders, office and administration tasks, and often helping the Head Brewer to bottle or label beer. Alongside my work I was supported with online training and qualifications, like the Level 2 AAT bookkeeping course which Tap Social paid for.
Just as the Tap Directors hugely supported me with my journey pre- and post-release, I began to help new inmates as they joined Tap – which I was in a good position to do given my personal experience.
MY NEXT STEPS
I worked as one of the managers for a long time, managing the bar staff team. I <enjoyed. the team’s buzz and friendliness and keep in touch with other ex-offenders. When people tell my that I am an inspiring figure within the community for my tenacity and the path I have taken, I’m proud I was the first one.
Tap have supported me run and grow my own business, customising products and creating merchandise for other companies. I plan to use this business to reform the system: I want to help prisons give their inmates direction, support, opportunities and a route out of prison.
Emanuel has moved back to London to be closer to his children. He continues to grow his business, passionate about prison reform, and to support Tap's work through advocacy and speaking events. As he knows, the door is always open for him here...!
*name has been changed for privacy.