Dave says: “It’s very social. It’s not anti-social. I like that. I’ve had too much anti-social in my life…”

“I’ve never been to a place like this before. I kind of ask [myself] will I fit in, settle in. I like everyone here, everyone’s as good as gold here. Everyone respects each other. As soon as you walk through that gate, you’re like a whole new person. It’s like just coming to work with your mates. That’s how I see it as. But yeah, I was a bit anxious to start with, but I kind of thought to myself don’t be anxious because you won’t enjoy yourself if you’re anxious. I just got on with it and kind of fell in love with it really.

In the workshop you work together making a bench or feed the chickens. It’s not a single task. It’s teamwork. I like that. You don’t want to be in a room by yourself … you want to be together, don’t you? That’s a big part of it … you’re all together. It’s very social. It’s not anti-social. I like that. I’ve had too much anti-social in my life, so it’s actually quite nice to be around people.

I like the maintenance work … make sure the site’s nice and clean, you know, you clean things out … everything maintenance wise … the deliveries, fixing things, building things, just the normal maintenance stuff you do really. I really enjoy that. I think it’s quite good for me to get hands-on.

I like being with the chickens… it makes me feel happy that they’re happy. I like making people smile. That’s what makes me smile, making people happy. So, I’ve kind of taken on that role with the chickens and make sure they’ve got everything. I clean them out. I know if they’re happy and that means I can be happy then. They make certain noises. They just sit there in the sand or sit on their perches, they love it. They’re enjoying themselves.

I liked building that deck I did, that decking. I’ve never used a nail-gun or anything like that before. I’ve never built decking. It was actually a big achievement for me, and do you know what, I’m proud of myself because I’ve actually done that. I’m really proud of myself. I took quite a lot of photos actually. As the progress went by, I took pictures each day. It took three days. It was alright.

But when you’re here, it’s lovely. It’s better than what I thought it was. I love the countryside. It’s in the middle of nowhere … birds … that’s what it is … countryside, the animals, it’s in the middle of nowhere and it’s nice. It’s quiet and I like that, peace and quiet. I don’t like all these busy towns and streets and cities … it doesn’t appeal to me.

I’ve got two sides. I’ve got a silly side and I’ve got an adult side… I didn’t have that adult side before 16… I was getting detentions. I was sick of getting detentions. I realised if I didn’t actually sort myself out, I was in big trouble. I kind of slapped myself on the wrist. No-one slapped me on the wrist, I slapped myself on the wrist … like sort your ideas out. That’s basically what I did…

… I wouldn’t call me a special kid, but kind of unique. Someone who struggles to write and read, that kind … not someone who’s f-ing and blinding at teachers, kicking chairs, punching holes in walls … that’s not me.

I can control it, definitely. It all depends on the situation. Some days I’ll be an adult. Some days I’ll be a child. It all depends on how everyone else is acting. That’s quite a big part of it, how everyone else is acting. A very serious moment … when someone at school died it was a very serious moment. You’ve got to think to yourself it’s not a child situation, don’t go around making stupid noises, putting your hands in the air like an idiot, it’s a serious time, just stand there and show respect.

My dream thing would be to start my own company. A lot of people don’t understand, when you’ve been through the criminal justice thing or whatever you call it, people don’t understand what it’s like. Having a criminal record puts a lot of barriers in front of you that you’ve got to get through and sometimes you can’t get through them if you make a silly mistake or anything like that. So, I want to start my own company, not just strictly for criminals, but it’s open to … I want to be open and not put them under pressure and stuff like that … we know you’ve got this … that’s fine, you don’t need to talk about it anymore, that’s it. That’s what I want to do and try and make a successful business out of it…”


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