During the Covid-19 lockdown, Rowland (Community Chaplain) phoned a former client, someone he had worked with in prison and then in the community for much of last year. Rowland left a voicemail message enquiring as to how he was and invited him to return the call, should he wish to do so. Half an hour later Patrick called back. They spent the next ten minutes or so catching up and Patrick had lots of good news to share.
When Rowland first met Patrick in HMP Exeter in 2017, he was 4 years into a 10 year sentence. Patrick was gainfully employed in the prison and studying to complete a number of NVQ courses, his motivation for this hard work being his release in 18 months’ time. He was determined to make a life for himself and his family, and not to return to custody. As release drew closer one of Patrick’s requests was for help in finding employment. Knowing his area of release, a particular employer came to Rowland’s mind who he thought would be a good fit and so he got in touch with them. The company were taking on staff and Patrick was delighted to be given a job. He has thrived there, and reported that he was recently promoted – his graft has been rewarded with a job on the transport team.
The second piece of news was that he had been given permission to have his teenage son come and live with him. Father and son are getting along just fine, making up for the years apart. And on top of all that, Patrick is now working towards being accepted onto the third year of an Open University degree.
It was so encouraging for Rowland to hear all this news and to celebrate with him! Patrick did explain that now things are on a much more even keel, he’s wanting to address some things that he had filed away as ‘too difficult to look at’ and asked Rowland whether they might start to meet up again, once lockdown is eased, which Rowland was very pleased to agree to. Clearly, Patrick is a very motivated person and is making great steps forward in building a new and very positive future in the community. He immensely values the support Community Chaplaincy, especially Rowland, has provided to help him get to where he is today.