Stuart Kelly (ex-offender)

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I grew up all my life in foster care and have never had a stable life or been in one place or with one family long enough to settle down properly and get a proper education. Later in life I got into trouble with the law and I was sent to jail to serve three and a half years of a five year prison sentence. Whilst I was in prison I decided to change my ways and decided to settle down and do as much work and education to better myself for when the day came and I would be released.

 

Although the course’s available helped me and gave me something to concentrate and keep my mind active whilst in prison, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for when I was released and I wasn’t really working towards any goals. I decided that I would follow my one passion in life which was to start my very own small business which is something I have always wanted to do and I believe that I have the qualities and the determination to succeed.

 

I had many ideas about things that I wanted to do, so I signed up for a small business start up course within the prison, although I was hugely disappointed as this was only a basic course and only covered a small percentage on each topic and did not go into great detail. 

 

There was no one there that was available and qualified in this field of work who could offer me any help or professional guidance on how to write up a business plan or how to go about getting any available funding. There were no courses for this and no internet access within the prison either. There was no training or work sheds available that could assist me on the type of work I wanted to do. 

 

Without this I had no self-confidence within myself when I left prison and no direction to where I wanted to be. When I was released I found it hard to shake of my past and I felt that some employee’s did not want to offer me the chance of work because of this. 

 

I decided to try again and to start looking into starting my own business and writing up a business plan. This was very hard to do though as I didn’t have any experience or training in anything to do with the work that I want to do. I found it a lot harder than I first thought and as I have no immediate family here in Fraserburgh I felt I was all alone and I didn’t have much of an idea about where to start or where to get the correct help.  My self-esteem and confidence hit an all time low until one day I was introduced to Mr. George Kerr.

 

He explained to me about his organisation called TEREC. He explained what it was all about and what it involved, what future benefits it held for young people with low confidence, self-esteem, disabilities or troubled backgrounds like myself.

 

After having several meetings with Mr. Kerr I soon agreed to participate in the small business start up pilot scheme that TEREC was putting together called Cleaner Slates. I think this pilot scheme will give young and old alike, an open gate to help that’s available for people who are, and were in the same situation as myself.

For them to have something to work towards and to have a goal that they can set themselves, be achieved  and to have the help they need in getting the motivation and self confidence to believe in themselves to start up something that like me, they could only dream about.  TEREC along with George Kerr has definitely helped me to achieve all of the above and I now have something to keep my mind focused and put my own ideas into working practice, someone to guide me and goals that I can work towards.

 

With the help of George we built up the business plan that has been accepted by Business Gateway to go forward to the bank for the little funding that is required to help me move forward. Courses have been booked for Health & Safety and First Aid which we recognise will be required.

 

Part of the pilot is also to help those with disabilities get back into work at the pace that suits them to learn new skills, gain the confidence to move forward with their lives. When everyone works together there is a lot that can achieved as I have now found out.

 

If this system would have been available when I was in prison I would have had a much more positive attitude and would have goals to aim for, been trained on all aspects of starting up my own business and come out to having my own business which I know will reduce my chances of re-offending

 

I am now looking forward to the future ahead and I hope that others can benefit from TEREC as much as I have.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

Stuart Kelly

stuartkelpin@hotmail.com

 

 

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