Tony says: “It’s nice to be back out here and given a second chance. I suppose everybody deserves a second chance

“Obviously, I had a bit of a setback, which wasn’t LandWorks fault. It was my fault. I kind of felt bad because I was doing so well and then everything just went … all that hard work for nothing really, I thought and then I got a second chance.

Chris wanted to see that I was ticking the right boxes, doing my courses, and stuff I need to do for my recovery. Obviously, as soon as he saw I was doing alright, he got me back out for a couple of days and now I can do four, five days a week if I can. It’s hard because I’ve got to fit it around my courses and that, but I’m only doing one at the minute, so, I do Monday to Thursday.

Yeah, I just generally like it out here, just everything about it, the work and the people out here. I just feel like part of a team… just doing what I can helping with everything really, maintaining the grounds or doing the veg or anything, delivering benches, even helping Graham out now and again. I’ve not done a lot of work in the woodwork, but if I’m asked … I did some sanding the other day, which I quite enjoyed, restored some benches. It’s nice to be back out here and being given that second chance. I suppose everyone deserves a second chance. 

I’m learning not to drink anymore for a bit because that was my issue. At the minute I’ve done seven months with nothing. I’m doing alright. Seven months seems long, but it’s not. I’ve got a long way to go yet. 

That’s a big part of my recovery as well, getting my daughter back and being a dad again.

I had a couple of bad years of just drinking. I’d drink anything, whatever I could get my hands on really. When I was working, I’d just buy it whenever I wanted. 

I haven’t done anything fantastic in my life to be fair. I was working at ***. I did 13 years there. I didn’t pursue a career. I stuck in that bubble just earning a minimum wage I suppose. There was always work there and it was consistent. I learnt a lot of stuff in there I suppose. I got till trained in there. I did the fruit and veg, the bakery, the coffee shop, night work. I got a bit of everything there. Obviously, that’s been a while though. That was 2017, I think. I kind of got sacked.

I sort of left because I was missing too much work because me and my daughter’s mum lost two babies. We lost one and then my daughter came along, and everything went a bit better again, but then it happened again. Then the relationship just broke down completely. We were just living together, just with our daughter. We were just doing it for her, but then things got too crazy, arguing all the time, so she moved out to her mum’s and I just started drinking, lost my job, lost the flat. I went and stayed with my mum for a bit. I was grateful for that. She sold up because … in between my two sons dying, my adopted father died as well with cancer. My mum eventually moved on and found another bloke and sold up and went away. I went and house-shared for a bit, but I was still drinking.

I managed to get myself another job though and my life went good again for 10 months or so. I was working […], night work, so that was alright. I kind of sorted myself out to be fair and then the work went dry and then I couldn’t find any more work. I sort of just went back to it again. I don’t know why. Then obviously got into trouble with some people that weren’t good for me… and then prison started happening. Then when I came out, I turned it around again when I came here and then… I broke my conditions, being an idiot and then went back in again.the prison. Got a plan and here we are now, again.

I thought I need to sort my life out now and started working out in prison and got myself a little job in the prison. Got a plan and here we are now, again.

My head’s a lot clearer now. No drink in the system. Things are going well. I’m fit and healthier. Hopefully I’ll get some sort of decent accommodation sorted which will be nice and for my daughter as well because I’ll have some overnight stays eventually and then hopefully get a job at some point. Obviously, the good thing with LandWorks is I can put this on my CV, which will be nice. I do want to try and pursue something like this, maybe that’s with the council or some sort of maintenance gardening. I think I might enjoy that because I really enjoy cutting grass and strimming, all that sort of stuff. I like it all here, but the maintaining, getting on machinery and stuff … I might try and pursue that.

I’ve managed to get back out here as well. It’s all about routine again. I have to keep busy. I feel like it’s dangerous to have too much time on my hands. I’ve got LandWorks Monday to Thursday and the course on Friday, daughter on one of the days in the week, and then I’ve got one day to have to myself … a bit of gym or football on a Sunday when it’s back on.

I’ve got plenty of support if I need it. I’ve had a couple of bad days, but it was my son’s anniversary the other day, which was a bit crap, but I just sort of dealt with it I suppose. Most days I’m alright now. I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time. Even from last year being out here, that was a good feeling, but I feel like I’ve gone past that. I’ve just got to keep pushing forward now and just stay out of trouble and things will come to me then, but I’ve just got to put the work in and keep myself sober. Obviously, I’ve got you guys out here. The social are on my side. They’ve got to do their job, but they’ve let me have my unsupervised contact, so, I must be doing something ok. So yeah, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Photographs by Emma Winslet for Fotonow –

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