Through The Gate… saving lives

Through The Gate… saving lives image

People working in probation really do make a difference to service users’ lives. West Yorkshire CRC’s Through The Gate provision delivered by Matt Elvins from HMPS and Chelcey Huxley from St Giles Trust recently received the following letter from Richard Walpole, who experienced TTG first-hand. He shares his story here:

Basically, Matt I have written this letter to thank you with all my heart for the work you have done for me.

It’s a shame, but unfortunately common knowledge, that the prisons all around our country are an absolute mess due to poor use of funding and under staffing. It’s on its knees and it has been for so long, it seems it’s meant to be that way.

I have, due to the addiction I have to heroin, ended up in prison three or four times in 10 years. Every time I have been released I was freed back into a world of homelessness. They didn’t, or couldn’t, find anywhere for me to live.

Twice I have been released into a sleeping bag and to be quite honest I am now too tired, so I honestly think I would have died if it happened again.

Despite the years I was in a cell, behind bars, the outcome was the same. Sick with Crones Disease, I knew that I simply wouldn’t make it through this winter with no accommodation. I probably would have breached probation and because the amount of probation is double for homeless people, it could have been a foregone conclusion, set up to fail as they say.

Twice I have been released into a sleeping bag and to be quite honest I am now too tired, so I honestly think I would have died if it happened again.

With no word of a lie, your determination and resolve, in my humble opinion, has saved my life Matthew! I don’t think people realise how important your work is to people like me. I’m not an evil man or a bad lad, I just had too many big problems to even know how to handle, so I made some stupid mistakes which affected my life badly.

Your work saves people’s lives, just as if you swam a drowning man to safety or stopped a bullet with your hand.  People like you should be praised without being embarrassed. Every form you fill in is to change a man’s life for the better. Please don’t ever underestimate your role, the lads agree unanimously that you are the man! You did all this even with a bust-up foot!

Say again, thank you. With all my love and now freedom, goodbye, Richard.