Gary's Story

“When I talk about my previous life, it’s like I’m talking about a different person. If someone had said, in your forties, you’ll be helping people, I’d have laughed at them.”


We first met Gary around eight years ago. He had spent much of his adult life in and out of the criminal justice system, and was dealing with many complex issues such as addition, mental health and homelessness.

A friend referred him to P3's Link Worker service in Milton Keynes, and despite Gary’s reservations about working with us, he did engage; he was supported with practical and emotional issues by link workers and accessed a local hostel where he continued to receive support. But this was really only the beginning of his journey.

Two years later, Gary was looking to retrain as a support worker and contacted P3 to volunteer.

From volunteering to education and employment

Jen Kralj is now the Operations Manager for P3's Justice Services, but was Gary's Link Worker when he first came to P3 and supported him through volunteering:

"Gary volunteered with us for two years in the end, which was an amazing commitment from him and he added so much value to the work that we did...people we were supporting responded well to him and he brought a different perspective. Through that time, he also started making a plan for his own future."

Whilst volunteering, staff supported him to find a way into education via an access course at Bedfordshire College and he began studying for formal qualifications, eventually completing a degree in Psychology & Criminal Behaviour.

Jen continued:

“Gary has thrived on education; he has developed personally and professionally through the process. Gary’s early years in the criminal justice and care system were quite damaging for him and he missed out on many opportunities. Completing his BSc Honours degree in Psychology and Criminal Behaviour has been his biggest accomplishment and has enhanced all the incredible progress he has made personally such as re-building family relationships and sustaining his sobriety.”

Gary now works at a YMCA Hostel, and is studying for his Masters in Addiction Psychology & Counselling.

Watch the video above to find out more about Gary’s story in his own words.