Concrete Faith: Michael's Story
In and out of prison since he was 15 years old, Michael didn't get the best start in life. Raised in a travelling community, crime was a way of life for Michael.
"We were always travelling around in caravans. We'd stay in a place for a week, I'd get into criminal activity all around that area, and then we'd move on to the next place" said Michael. By his teenage years, prison sentences were the norm.
But is was when he witnessed the murder of his father during a family funeral that Michael's situation worsened. Filled with hatred, he became hellbent on revenge. He said: "I just wanted to get one of them back. I didn't care which one it was." Life became a cycle of revenge and re-offending until he was sentenced to prison and was introduced to religion by a fellow inmate.
Through this chance encounter, Michael became a Christian, let go of the past and vowed to turn his life around upon release. He said: "I was looking for my nearest church to my flat in Northern Moor and the nearest church was Ivy Sharston, and that's The Message building. So me and my girlfriend took a walk from the flat to the church and that's how I got involved with The Message. They let me volunteer for a few weeks and then Andy Hawthorne gave me a full time job on the building team. It was an amazing opportunity. I was an ex-offender, I was still on license from prison, I've got no education. I thought, I'm never going to get a job. I owe The Message everything, I'm really grateful to them."
Michael works with The Enterprise Centre Building Services Team; one of our Message Enterprise Centre businesses designed to create training opportunities and jobs for ex-offenders and other young people who need a second chance in life. MEC Building Services consists of a small, highly skilled team which undertakes all aspects of commercial property development and maintenance across Greater Manchester.
For more information about the team, visit Building Services.