Mark says: “It’s just kept me out of trouble. It keeps me on the straight and narrow really.”

“I just work now. That’s it really. Come here. Do my snizzel. Play around in the workshop. Build a load of random things for random reasons. Yeah, I’m quite happy then. I don’t know why I decided I wanted to build a pool cue box, but yeah, I built a pool cue box. I made a cross with Graham a few months ago. My missus thought it was great. I made a big cross. So, that wasn’t too bad. That’s about it really. I just do the workshop bit … sand all the benches and rout all the benches out for Graham so he can put them together. I do enjoy it.

It’s helped me control my anger a little bit more really and have patience. Doing stuff in the workshop, you can’t just quickly push it together and job done. You’ve got to take time. It teaches you to slow down a bit and just breathe and think about your actions, think about what’s going to happen if you do it rushed and stuff like that. When I’m working, it’s different. I know what I’m doing there so I know the speed and the pace I can do it in … here, I don’t because it’s all new to me. It’s a new skillset. You’re learning a new skill or a new art form or a new craft. It’s good really.

I feel a bit better about myself. Like I say, I get to talk to Graham. Graham’s a good listener. I have a good chat with Graham. I have a good chat with Chris as well sometimes, especially when I have my bad days, Chris is alright […] and Steve actually, he got me doing the grass. I was playing around with all the lawnmowers and that. It’s just different stuff for me to do really. I enjoy it. It’s fun. Yeah, it’s fun. It gives you a chance to better yourself, I suppose, is the word I’m looking for. You can improve your lifestyle if you take onboard what they say … well, not so much what they say, but what they try and help you and teach you.

Here it teaches you respect as well, more than anything, an appreciation, because obviously you respect the people, you’re with because they respect you. Before they even get to know you, they give you their respect, which out in society is not the easiest thing to learn. It’s not easy to earn someone’s respect, is it? They greet you. They talk to you. Everybody here, all the guys, they all treat you with respect and they speak to you nicely. They speak to you and make you feel wanted. They make you feel like you can improve yourself and do something with your life, whereas normal community service doesn’t.

They treat you more like an adult and not like an animal. They treat you like a human-being. Yeah, you’ve done wrong, but they don’t carry on the punishment. They know you’ve done wrong, you know you’ve done wrong, they say you’ve done wrong but move on from it. They use manners, which for someone like me, I appreciate it… it’s do you want to do that? Would you mind doing this? You get spoken to like an adult here and not like a toddler that’s thrown their beaker across the front room and stained the carpet. They don’t tell you; they don’t dictate to you.

It’s just kept me out of trouble. It keeps me on the straight and narrow really. If I have a bad week and I don’t speak to my missus about it, I know I can come up here and speak to someone about it. I came up last week and had a bit of a rant about work. It is what it is really. I just come up and enjoy it really. There’s no point coming up and fighting it and not enjoying it. If you’re not going to enjoy it, don’t come up. If you do come up, don’t come up with an attitude.

I did when I first came up. Chris will tell you, I was kicking my feet a little bit. I just couldn’t be arsed with it. And then I just embraced it I suppose. I just thought there’s no point arguing. If they’re going to put their time and effort into help me, I might as well help them by making their job easier by embracing it instead of fighting it. There’s no point fighting it. At the end of the day, you haven’t got to come up here. You haven’t got to come. If you don’t want to come, don’t get on the bus in the morning. So, when you do come up here, don’t be a prick. To be honest with you, I was a little bit, when I first started off and now, I’m alright really. Well, I think I’m alright anyway. I’m less of a prick than I was. I’ll always be a prick. I just wasn’t interacting with anyone. I wasn’t doing anything. I was just sat on my own. I just thought why should I be a knob? Stop being a knob. I just thought stop being a knob. So, I started interacting more, started talking to everybody more at lunchtimes.

Everyone was trying to talk to me, and I was just giving them one-word answers. I thought if they’re going to keep taking the time and effort to try and talk to me, stop being a knob towards them. There are worse places to go and do your hours and there’s worse places to go and get treated, whereas here, you get the best of both worlds. You get treated decently. It’s a nice place to come and it’s not like it’s in the middle of nowhere either. It’s a nice surrounding to come to as well. You’re not sat in a warehouse. You’re outside if the weather’s nice…”

One thought on “Mark says: “It’s just kept me out of trouble. It keeps me on the straight and narrow really.”

  1. Thanks for sharing that with us, it sounds as if you are having more fun in life, and helping others to do the same – keep going. best wishes, Tattwa


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