Paul’s Story

Paul has been attending Bridge for 6 months and is on the path to change.

Coming to Bridge

I’m relatively new to Bridge, I’ve been here six months and it’s going OK now. I was in prison for a couple of charges I’d picked up and when I got out I was living on my own and had nothing to do all day. I was getting very depressed and bored so when I got the chance to attend Bridge I was happy to give it a go.

I’m in here 4 mornings a week and attend a clinic one morning every week. I’d like to start doing afternoons as well as mornings at Bridge because I find I’m getting very bored in the afternoons after my busy mornings. It was a bit tough starting The Bridge Project because I get anxious in new situations, it’s just the way I am. My Key Worker is great though, I can talk to him when I start feeling nervous and he helps me to prepare myself and get through these situations.

Starting classes

Last week I was starting a woodwork class and it was really causing me to worry a lot but I went in and told him how I was feeling and he helped me get brave again and to give it a go and if I really didn’t like it I could see if there was some other course I could do instead. I much prefer reading, writing and history, I don’t have many of the practical skills like bike maintenance and woodwork but I’m learning to give those subjects a chance too.

My Key Worker is great though, I can talk to him when I start feeling nervous and he helps me to prepare myself and get through these situations.

I did a ‘reduce the use’ course and I only attend the clinic once a week now, everyone is different though depending on the plan you’re on. Since I started here at Bridge I’ve done a few courses like Safe Pass and Manual Handling but my favourite is Communications which involves reading and writing and using the computer. Even though I’m only here a short time I’ve already been asked to tutor another one of the lads. I read a lot of crime and history books, I think it’s better than watching a DVD because I get to decide how things look in my imagination.

heading in a positive direction

Because of that I hope to go on after Bridge and do a teaching course. I’d love to be a teacher and I think I’d be good at it now that I’m learning other skills too. I lost my brother when I was eleven, before that happened I was a good kid, never in trouble but after he died I got very negative.

I genuinely want to come in every day and get on and get my qualifications and get on a teacher training course.

The area I grew up in was a hell-hole and I fell in with some bad lads. I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing I was just going along with the crowd. I got into drugs and crime and worried my Mam sick. I actually apologised to her there not so long ago for all the worry I caused her when I was younger. She said there was no need to say sorry but I had to, to make myself feel better and because it was important to me. Now I feel like my life is heading in a positive direction.

No one is forcing me to be here, if I miss a day we have a free phone number to ring in on so there’s no excuse not to let them know. I genuinely want to come in every day and get on and get my qualifications and get on a teacher training course. We’re having a big dinner here next week with all the staff and clients. We’ll have music and a bit of craic and hopefully it’ll be a good day.

Bridge is great for getting everyone together and helping us to fit in. That’s what the course is like actually, a big jigsaw that somehow all fits together.

Bridge is great for getting everyone together and helping us to fit in. That’s what the course is like actually, a big jigsaw that somehow all fits together.