Tom has praised CGM CRC and partner agencies for helping him quit drugs and put his life back on track following a sentence for criminal damage.
The 22-year-old, from Stockport, was arrested after getting into a row with his mum. Tom has autism and following the offence was homeless, was regularly using cocaine and struggling to arrange his benefits.
The Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company supervises Tom on a 12 month Community Order which included a requirement to complete 40 hours Community Payback.
Probation case manager Natalie Dickinson’s first role was to secure stable accommodation for Tom, who was sleeping under a bench at Woodley train station. She then made a referral to Disability Stockport to arrange extra support.
Tom has now been reunited with his beloved Staffordshire Bull Terrier Poppy, has quit drugs and has his own house.
He said: “When I lost my dog I tried to kill myself. I was recommended to get a dog to help with my autism and I love Poppy.
“I was in a bad place. I was taking drugs, I was homeless, and I wasn’t looking after Poppy properly
“Probation has really helped me. I’m now four months clean, I volunteer with Disability Stockport and help other people and have a completely different life.”
Natalie enlisted support from Disability Stockport’s Sarah Crookdake and between them worked with partner agencies including social services and Stockport Homes to create a network to support Tom’s progress.
Natalie said: “Tom was leading a chaotic lifestyle when we first met, and it was clear he urgently needed help. He was regularly coming into probation because he had nowhere else to turn. He was often very upset and understanding how his condition was affecting his behaviour was extremely important.
“I was seriously concerned for his welfare because he had no money or family support and at the time was mixing with a bad peer group – but I could also see that he was a lovely lad.
“It was a struggle at first because accommodation providers didn’t want to take Poppy as well, but the support we received from Sarah was instrumental in helping get the right package in place.”
Sarah said: “We often see that issues interlink and therefore it also is the case that to solve these problems requires partner organisations to work together.
“My organisation supports people like Tom to live independently. Natalie was passionate about helping Tom and together we were able to create a support package that has enabled him to make a stunning transformation.
“Without probation being proactive in the first instance it’s quite possible that Tom’s situation would have deteriorated further.”
Sam Bradshaw took over the case half way through Tom’s order.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted by the way that Tom has responded to the support he has been given and that he is making such wonderful progress.”
Caption: Sarah Crookdake, Natalie Dickinson, Hannah Thompson, Nicola Westby and Sam Bradshaw have worked together to support Tom’s recovery.