This International Men’s Day, we want to celebrate the positive male role models we have at Concrete.
Duty Support Worker Brian has been with us for two months. Based at our Lily Gertrude shared accommodation scheme in Tunstall, Brian supports male customers who have faced homelessness and addiction.
Brian, who is originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, uses his lived experience to offer guidance to other men who are starting new chapters.
Brian grew up ‘around the wrong people’ and started taking drugs at a young age. He was put into care when he was 11 years old and also spent time in prison.
After years of hard work and rehab, Brian has turned his life around. He’s now a Duty Support Worker at Concrete and an active member of Walk Ministries.
He shared his story with us.
Brian said: “I grew up in a really rough neighbourhood and I was always around the wrong people. I was put into care when I was 11 and things just escalated.
“I started taking drugs and was in a really bad state of addiction. I was put into secure units and ultimately went to prison for different crimes.
“In 2013 I went to rehab, which was really hard. I had a couple of slip ups over the years, but each time I went back. I’ve been clean now for two and a half years.”
Brian’s original trade was joinery and landscaping, but when he left rehab two and a half years ago, he decided to stay on at the centre and mentor others going through what he had overcome.
When the time came to move on, he realised that he had found his true calling, and didn’t want to go back to landscaping or joinery.
Brian continued: “I did my health and social care level one and two and found Walk Ministries. I started working with them and was put on a placement with Concrete. Soon after that I was offered a part-time role.
“I always thought that it would be hard for me to get a job, due to my past with addiction, but this has turned out to be really good for me.
“I absolutely love my role. I love helping the guys and now I’m just hoping to continue working with Concrete, go full-time and develop my career.
“I think it’s very important for the lads to have male role models. It’s also important to have people with lived experience. You need people who have been there and done that.
“It’s a blessing to be here and do this role.”
Brian is now looking forward to a career helping other people and is keen to continue his work with Concrete.
Brian said: “It’s been a long journey, but so worth it. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point because I was battling about 25 years of addiction.
“I’ve got better relationships with my family too. I hadn’t talked to my dad in about 15 years, but I stayed over last week, something that I hadn’t done since I was 11. It has been amazing.”
Brian is just one of the many amazing male role models that we have across Concrete. We’re celebrating all of them this International Men’s Day!