KENNY Wilson, 35, spent over 15 years in and out of prison and has now secured full time employment at Rotunda Community College.
On and off probation since 1996, Kenny’s case is currently being managed by Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (M CRC).
Kenny was first arrested at 19 for driving without a license or insurance and spent 18 months in prison returning a total of six times over 15 years for similar driving offences.
Kenny said: “My dad left when I was sixteen and mum turned to drink. Drinking claimed her life in 1995. The grief claimed mine and I landed in prison.”
With no family support after his mother’s death, Kenny turned to cannabis to fill the void.
Kenny said: “I was alone after my Dad left and in and out of hostels and children’s homes and prisons all my life.”
He was arrested for the last time in 2012 for supplying class A drugs to feed his family and support his cannabis habit.
Leigha Aldridge, M CRC case manager, said: “I had a real concern about Kenny re-offending. When he came to me with concerns about his order, I referred him to Rotunda so he could complete his unpaid work hours and use the skills he learned in prison.”
Kenny obtained numerous trade certificates along with sports hall training and peer mentoring diplomas from Manchester College.
He said: “I stayed in prison as a peer mentor an extra six months to help others inside see a way out. I got my head down to turn my life around.”
On his current case manager Leigha, Kenny said: “Leigha helped me get a flat which was more than any case manager had ever done before.
“She really listens to me and takes an interest in my life. She treats me like an equal. She has always done that extra bit to make a difference.”
After completing his unpaid work order at Rotunda Community Campus, Kenny continued on at Rotunda as a volunteer. CEO Maxine Ennis was so impressed with his progress she offered him full time employment in the café as a chef.
Maxine said: “Kenny is a whirlwind; he brings so much energy and enthusiasm to Rotunda.
“He can turn his hand to most things – gardening, maintenance, catering – a real asset to Rotunda and very much a part of the team.”
About Rotunda, Kenny said: “I have always felt supported here. They do a lot of things for the community.
“The café is a great place for people to come if they feel lonely.”
Kenny added: “It’s been a hard graft but I also credit my current partner Rachel Fairclough for all her support through the rough times.
“I can go home knowing I have contributed to the community. I want my kids to be proud.”