Ben says: “that one person can actually give you a lot of your spark back. I think this place is brilliant for that”

…the judge said… he was like, if I see you in this court again, you are going down. I was like, thank you. I went into that court with a bag packed and everything thinking I was going. So yeah, better make the most of my last chance. I haven’t been inside yet and I don’t fancy it…

…When I was younger one of my mates got stabbed in front of me and didn’t make it. I was 15. It was up in Bristol. So, certain things … like I was really bad for a while. I wouldn’t leave the house and I didn’t like doing certain things. I didn’t like going into like a bathroom, as such, because there’s only one way in and one way out, and things like that, public rest rooms and stuff like that. I just didn’t like certain situations. I wouldn’t eat in front of people and people think that’s more like do you find it embarrassing or this or that, but it was more like when you’re distracted. I wouldn’t want to be distracted eating. I wouldn’t want to go to sleep or things like that because I’d feel like I can’t keep myself safe sort of thing. It’s quite odd to be honest and I was like that for a while. I can still have bouts. Like I can go on like a high and be happy for a while and then just have like a dip and be miserable for a while, but it is what it is.

When I was like 15 sort of thing, I got kicked out of my mum’s. That all happened. It was actually … I lived with a couple that like took in lads that were in care. Like not kids, they took in teenagers and that. […], the bloke, was ex-military police. So, obviously he’s worked with people that have PTSD and this and that, so he started to notice things that I was doing which said that to him and dah-de-dah and he took me off to CAMS and that. He was brilliant to be honest. I was in a bad place though. He helped me majorly. I still see him around now and say ‘hi’ and this and that. I always get an invite to Christmas dinner if I haven’t got nowhere to go and stull like that. 

That’s what I mean, sometimes it takes one good person to actually take five minutes of their time. I saw this thing and I thought it explains it really well, … imagine this lighter’s like you or me and it works fine and they put it in the bottom of a glass and they tip a bit of water in there, like the stress of life, the abuse, the abandonment of this and that or whatever, take the lighter out of the glass and obviously it doesn’t work, but you bring another lighter over and bang, like you’ve got the spark back. I just thought that was a really good analogy for like sometimes that one person can actually give you a lot of your spark back. I think this place is brilliant for that. 

When I first came here, I was thinking of it like, what is this? It looks like a little farmstead sort of thing, like the whole frontier. But, yeah, everyone just makes you feel like … I guess it’s probably like … for lack of a better word, like normal. 

I like coming out and doing all the planting… Who needs a gym when you’ve got out here? I like being up on the fields, it’s wicked, especially in the sun. The workshop’s always hilarious with Graham. Like he’s such a character. I like all of it, even pottery. I made a tile and when I was struggling to think of what to make, I made a four-leaf clover because I was thinking that this place is probably the bit of luck that people need.

I reckon a big thing is the non-judgement. Like everyone’s the same. The uniform, this and that, it puts everyone on that same bracket and then when you’re talking to someone on the same level, it’s a lot easier […] Also, they never ask. It’s kinda like an unwritten rule of not asking why you’re here, how you got here, what dumb-ass thing did you f**ing do then, sort of thing, you don’t get none of that. You just come in and get on with it. Even the lunches are banging. I’ve put on half-a-stone since coming here. That’s brilliant as well. I want to put on another one. Even down to that, the lunches together sort of thing, it just gets people talking…

… I think it’s brilliant. I think this place is amazing. I think Chris is phenomenal. To even of had this as an idea, off your own back, not have a boss telling you this is what you’re doing, but to do something like this says a lot about that guy’s character. The people he has pulled in are amazing and brilliant as well. But yeah, I take my hat off to Chris, like legit, and to have the patience to deal with them as well. Even when he’s said people have tried to bring drugs in or things like that, I’d probably want to go and slap them, like are you really trying to ruin everything I’ve built here, sort of thing. He’s probably gone home and been a bit … like are they taking the mick right now. But to keep his cool as well in situations like that and everything … just take every day as it comes. Like yeah, the world needs more Chris’s. Yeah, the world needs more Chris’s. That’s probably my finishing statement. Legit.

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