Dejan would like to share his story with you…
“I decided I wanted to focus on something better for myself. I just didn’t know how to start.
I first encountered Switchback whilst in HMP Isis working in the officer’s mess. I thought they’d be another form of job centre, so I had many questions. Switchback was patient with helping me understand who they were and it did take a few conversations.
Richard, who would later become my Switchback Mentor, asked if I could send a letter explaining what I wanted after prison. I sent an extremely long letter because I wanted it to be understood that I was serious and wanted to do something different. I just felt like I’d been wasting my time, doing pointless things for way too long. I was happy to sign up.
I was finally released on a Friday so I phoned Richard to tell him and he came and met me at my first appointment at probation. He explained Switchback to my probation officer which helped in a big way.
I started volunteer work in the kitchen at the Crisis Skylight Café straight away. I’m working with good people, people that don’t judge you at all and are open minded. I also go into the Switchback office, which is literally across the road from the café, to do my weekly planning sessions and job hunting.
Switchback help you do a C.V, disclosure letter and covering letters. But Switchback doesn’t just focus on job hunting; they support you and also help you maintain focus. Switchback literally helps you to become open to things you wouldn’t do and places you wouldn’t go. I have been to many places which have been right under my nose that I never even noticed.
Being with Switchback has really benefited me since release to be honest. To be blunt, it got me off my arse. I was just looking for an easier option to make money, but ultimately I have had to push myself. It’s all down to me whether I take advantage of the help.
I still have a long way to go and much more to improve on but I have done more with Switchback then I would have done by myself. And when I feel like I’ve had enough, they are always there to push me and keep me optimistic and positive.”