Tap Social Movement was lucky enough to get the help of an experienced tradesperson, Gareth, on a day release placement.
MY PRISON STORY
The prison service would not value me at all and could only focus on my weaknesses (being spelling). And that’s as someone who has adapted myself to be able to run a successful building company employing people to carry out the works for the past 15 to 20 years.
Again, probation can be just a tick box thing: going on courses relating to drugs and alcohol when I don’t do either; doing courses that don’t apply to you.
MY TIME AT TAP
Tap needed a temperature controlled environment to store their beer so I built them a cold store with the help of a colleague who was also on Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL).
The big value that I found with Tap was to be around normal people. I didn’t fit into the prison culture as I didn’t set out to be a criminal. I found them to be very supportive and trusting – something at the time I was not used to.
It reminded me “what” I was in the world, as we are not all the same – something that the prison service seems to forget. I could tell that Tap offered the average person hope. Being somewhere where people listen to what you have to say, and being valued for the knowledge that you have, I found very important.
MY NEXT STEPS
There are people that don’t want to re-offend and we support each other. I have a list of people that I communicate with. I try to keep them positive: not letting them get despondent in looking for work and encouraging them to stay within the law.
After a running start at Tap Social Movement, Gareth picked his career in the building industry back up after prison. His handiwork can now be seen throughout the Botley taproom
*name has been changed for privacy.