Dad of three, Benjamin is just one of the many who end in prison as a result of an addiction. In Benjamin’s case it was a gambling problem. When his debts spiraled out of control, Benjamin started looking after the drugs belonging to the loan sharks he wasn’t able to pay any other way.
Benjamin served one year of his two year sentence in custody. Having moved to be with his British wife from Ghana over a decade ago, his conviction was now a major barrier to a visa that would allow him to seek paid employment.
On leaving prison, Benjamin was introduced to Tamar from Step Together. Having nothing to do all day would put Benjamin at risk of falling into bad habits which he was determined not to do. With Tamar’s support Benjamin was able to secure a work placement at St Mungo’s Broadway where he has been volunteering for the past year.
Benjamin is working on a project supporting people who have previously been homeless and are now in independent living accommodation. Helping clients to settle He also helps them to develop IT skills and supports them with their CVs so that they may find employment.
Benjamin is currently waiting for approval so that he may apply for a paid position at St Mungo’s but so far the visa situation is yet to be resolved. He is determined he will secure a paid role and his volunteering work is an important step forward.
“I want to do something constructive, not sit at home feeling negative. I love my voluntary work at St Mungo’s. I don’t know where I would be now without the support of Step Together. Tamar helped me break the negative cycle so that I didn’t end up back in prison.”