Caption: P3’s Emma Gourdji who provided intensive support to Ronnie.
Facing homelessness, a chronic pain condition and an on-going struggle with heroin addiction – Ronnie felt his chances were bleak.
But thanks to intensive support from the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company and P3’s link working service, Ronnie has successfully completed his post sentence supervision requirement, has moved into a new flat and has not used heroin in six weeks.
P3 is a social inclusion charity, and a partner within the Interserve-led Purple Futures. P3 works alongside CRC colleagues to support some of the most complex and chaotic people on probation.
The 48-year-old, who lives in Halewood, was sentenced to his last period in custody after committing a spate of shop thefts to fund his addiction. He was supervised by probation case manager Lorraine Francis from the Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company.
Because of the multiple issues Ronnie faced, Lorraine referred him to P3 Link worker Emma Gourdji for additional support. That was help he readily accepted.
Ronnie’s mother passed away last year and he was living in her house, which was being misused by drug users, and he faced being relocated because of the nuisance being caused. He was also at risk of having his income support removed and lacked the right medication to treat an abscess on his back.
The father-of-two said: “Without Emma I would be homeless. It was a horrible situation. I felt I was fighting a losing battle.
“I badly needed help. I was really poorly. Emma sorted my benefits, she helped me with the housing association
“I think it’s a million percent harder to stay out of trouble if you are homeless. What’s the point? I would have had nothing to lose.”
Ronnie had missed appointments with the housing association firstly because he was in jail and then because he had health issues.
He said: “Heroin has been my best mate. I’d always turn to it in times of crisis. But it goes hand-in-hand with trauma.
“I’m known in Halewood by all the shop owners. It’s not what you want to be known for. I hope I’ve got it under control now. I take each day as it comes and try to keep clean. Each day I manage that is a good day.
“Without Emma I’d have lost that fight months ago.”
Ronnie is back in touch with his children because his ex-partner appreciates the positive steps he has made.
Emma is based at M CRC’s Prescott and Wirral offices, has a caseload of 20 service users and has been with P3 for two-and-a-half years.
She said: “I love the job. The people I work with are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Many view them as criminals. But that’s too simplistic because they’ve often made mistakes that mean they get stuck, and then face huge struggles to reintegrate into society.
“It’s so nice to work with people like Ronnie who, with the right support, has been able to make tremendous changes.
“We’ve had a few bumps along the way, but I’m so proud of the progress he has made.”
Emma visited Ronnie at least twice a week to help him make appointments and get the support he needed. She logged each meeting on nDelius and had regular chats with Lorraine to update her on the progress he was making. She has also helped create a support package that’s in place now her time with him has ended.
Lorraine believes that the support offer P3 has been invaluable in helping Ronnie successfully complete his licence.
She said: “The referral process is simple and P3 gave intensive support because he had a lot of complex needs. I want to thank P3 for that support.
“Ronnie had mobility issues, so getting him to appointments helped him overcome several barriers and he responded well to that support.
“He also received input from drugs agency CGL – the whole package was really well rounded and clearly benefited Ronnie.”
Lorraine’s role focused on improving his consequential thinking and offence-focused work.
Ronnie added: “Emma took me to appointments. She also took me to the Jobcentre. I wouldn’t have gone there on my own, I’d prefer going on a crime wave. But Emma helped me make my disability claim.
“I’m really grateful for all the help that’s been given me.”