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Ben's Story

I don't know what I would have done without you.

Not just a polite, appreciative comment from Ben to his In2Out mentor, but the result of a trusted relationship that had developed between them. Ben faced some wide-ranging, challenging issues on leaving prison, and his mentor supported him in dealing with them.

At the age of 17, Ben found himself in prison for the third time. Now, he was serious about turning his life around and really wanted In2Out mentoring support to help him do that. As an exploited child and victim of modern slavery, he was left with a variety of issues from PTSD, insomnia, depression and the effects of a number of stab wounds.

His past meant that he was very anxious about gang retaliation when he was released, and so he was resettled into a completely new area where he didn't know anyone. Even so, some gang members were waiting at the prison gates on his release, whether they wanted to hurt him or recruit him was not clear, but measures had to be taken to make sure he wasn't followed to his new location.

Being in a new location means that past associations are ended but it also means that Ben faces extreme loneliness. He is always keen to meet up with his In2Out mentor, checking when they can see each other again and talking openly for hours when they have a session. Over the Christmas period, Ben had been alone for a week and so his mentor took him out for a carvery - the first proper meal he had eaten since being in school.

Ben is passionate about music and very talented, writing his own songs which gives him purpose and an outlet. One of his goals is to learn to play the guitar which he is now doing as a contact has given him one to learn on. His mentor has also taken him to some music studio sessions which a local organisation has paid for. He has also joined a gym and goes four or five times a week, which has helped with his mood and self-esteem as well as developing physical strength after his injuries.

Ben is still very lonely, but he is feeling more confident about travelling around the place, which will help him seek out new friends. We are immensely proud of his progress and the positive choices he is making for his life.

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