Tony’s Story

20 Feb 2018

Tony has been working with The Wallich’s Building Opportunities, Skills and Success (BOSS) projects. BOSS has helped him get back into work after facing the barrier of a criminal record. Read his story.

“Before coming to The Wallich, I was on the roads for nine years putting water mains in. Life was alright, I was on decent money, training, nice car, everything was going good.

One day I was involved in a tragic accident in my car, completely out of the blue, all my life changed. Just like that. I was sentenced for five years, I did two and a half.

Starting again

Before I went into custody, I’d always been into the gym; training five or six days a week.

Whilst in prison I did all my gym qualifications, level two and three with the YMCA CYQ. So, there was a chance for me on release for a brand new fresh start, doing something that I’m passionate about.

I also completed Introduction to Sports Fitness and Management with the Open University. I hope to continue with this in the next year.

I came to The Wallich just after I was released and met up with my BOSS Mentor Markus, who has been a great support.

First, they got me onto a first aid course which I needed to go with my gym qualifications. It was a two-day course. It was brilliant, I loved it.

On-the-job experience

Whilst I was in prison, I sent a few letters out to different gyms and I had no response.

The BOSS project got me a gym placement; it was voluntary at first, so I did that for a few weeks.

In the end, they then offered me a full-time job. I’m still there now. For the BOSS team to get me a placement in the gym I’m in now, it was a major thing for me.

Setting up my own business

Although I’m still at the gym, I’m hopefully going to launch my own business in 2018.

I’m hoping to be in the gym early to train a few clients, get people in shape and then hopefully have a couple of hours off for myself to train.

I have meetings with Markus all the time, and Andrea the Business Mentor as well. They managed to get me weighing scales and blood pressure monitors which I needed. Obviously, with my financial situation, I wouldn’t have been able to purchase them, so they’ve helped me with that.

I’m set to go now. I’ve got the qualifications and we’ve got a logo to be designed. They’re helping me get my paperwork together, invoices, we have a plan.

The effort that has gone into it and the thought of what it will be like once it’s up and running is an ongoing pleasure for me.

Every time I come and see Markus we have a little chat, it clears my mind a bit then so I get back on track. I couldn’t have done any of this without their help.

I couldn’t ask for any more, the help has been awesome and I feel really positive about the future, all because of The Wallich BOSS project. I can’t thank you enough.”

Insight from Markus, Tony’s Learning and Employment Mentor;

“Tony has come such a long way and the commitment that he’s given to himself, the BOSS project and The Wallich has been outstanding.

Tony’s also completed a coaching and mentoring course via the BOSS project and Cardiff University. He’s worked really hard. What we’ve asked of Tony has been completed and there’s never been any hesitation.

Sometimes there’s been doubt or lack of confidence but Tony’s a champion and it’s been a pleasure to work with him.”

Find out more about Building Opportunities, Skills and Success (BOSS) project.

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