I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you both for the work you have done with refocus. Refocus has played a massive role in my son life and that has consequently had an effect on us as a family. My son was well on the road to disaster with drink, drugs and crime. He was involved in a gang and it looked like he had no way out, other than carrying on down the same slippery slope.

He was in a vicious cycle and even he knew it would end up destroying him, he was part of a youth culture that wasn’t going to let him go easily. It was really sad to see my son giving up on life at such an early age. he had been permanently excluded from secondary school, which made things much worse, in the fact that he had more time on his hands and that put together with boredom is a disaster waiting to happen, as I am sure many parents of excluded children would agree. We constantly had police on our doorstep, either giving my son verbal warnings or arresting him and taking him down to the cells.

We desperately wanted him to understand that the next step for him was going to be a prison, if he carried on the way he was going. At that point, Refocus stepped in, and become a mediator and massive support for my son and us as parents. Refocus took our son on a day trip to a prison. We had often told our son how tough prisons could be, but he wasn’t in any way prepared for what happened on that day. They picked him up at around 5.30 in the morning and off he went with a group of other boys. That day in prison ended up being a major role in him turning his whole life completely around. He realised that this was not where he wanted his life to go.

It was a shock to him to spend the day in the life of an inmate. He had to do everything the inmates had to do in a typical day. When he got home he was shocked at the reality of what it was like to be an inmate for just 10 or so. It was then he made to completely change his lifestyle. He stopped getting involved with petty old crime, stopped taking drugs and even changed his whole appearance, wearing clothes other than jogging bottoms and hoodies.

A lot of the young people who my son used to hang out with, have now sadly become heavily involved in drugs and are currently serving prison sentences for various offences’ really wished they had, had the same opportunity that my son had been given and that chance was given to him through the brilliant work that Refocus do. They have stayed in touch with my son and supported us as a family, through very difficult times. I cannot thank them enough for the input they have had in our lives and I would highly recommend them, to families and young people struggling with gang life, drugs, alcohol and crime.