Simon’s Story's story

Simon was referred to Pathways from Fleming House Approved Premises in Maidstone, where he resided for three months after serving a 2½-year prison term for arson. His long history with the criminal justice system is linked to alcohol dependence. At the time of his referral, Simon had been turned away from other supported accommodation services. Pathways was Simon’s only offer of accommodation on the understanding that he would accept extra support and measures needed to ensure the safety of other residents in Pathway’s services. Pathways undertook extensive risk management and assessments to manage the risk around arson and created a Code of Conduct unique to Simon, which he must agree to and sign before his stay.

Simon’s history of arson offences, alcohol use, and poor mental health meant he experienced rock-bottom periods resulting in self-neglect and relapse. As his behaviour is linked to his alcohol use, he received two in-patient detoxes. Whilst at Pathways, Simon has learnt that keeping busy is crucial to his progress and achieving sobriety. Despite experiencing low moods, he remains committed to engaging in Pathways’ regular support sessions for encouragement and new activities, including community engagement.

Having introduced Simon to volunteering and encouraging him to use his lived experience for social good, he now holds down two volunteer placements. One with a specialist homeless accommodation provider to councils across Kent and the other, a small charity helping people experiencing homelessness. He takes great pride in both his roles. Simon feels the security of stable accommodation and appreciates his fellow residents at Pathways. He shares how ‘without Pathways’ accommodation and help, he didn’t believe he had a future’. Pathways’ patience, encouragement, and belief in him have made all the difference, and they are always there to pick him up when he needs it.

Simon still has a way to go, but his progress is outstanding, supported by The Probation Service and alcohol recovery service, Open Road. He is an example to other Pathways residents that anything is possible.