Drug addict turned his life around

JUST two years ago James May was addicted to drugs and reduced to stealing to fund his habit.Today the 26-year-old has turned his life around and is volunteering as a youth worker in Ipswich.

JUST two years ago James May was addicted to drugs and reduced to stealing to fund his habit.

Today the 26-year-old has turned his life around and is volunteering as a youth worker in Ipswich.

He said: “I was addicted to pretty much everything, including crack cocaine and lots of pills and I started to get involved in supplying drugs.

“I got involved with nasty characters and got into debt. I ended up stealing from my old employers in London to pay off my debt.”

Mr May, who now lives in north east Ipswich, was sentenced to 15-months in prison and ended up homeless once he was released - but he was also determined to do something different with his life.

After staying in a YMCA he got involved with the Prince's Trust charity, and moved away from London.

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He said: “I miss living in the city, but I don't want to go back.

“I completed the Youth Steps programme and now my life it totally transformed. The opportunities I have been given have been beyond my imagination.

“My life couldn't have been turned around any more than it has been.

“I'll never go back to what I was doing before. At the time I was in a bad place and my family had broken up - I was lost. I've got a positive attitude now.

“I want to help as many young people as I possibly can.”

After completing Youth Steps himself Mr May has since helped the programme put in a funding application and has even met home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to discuss other ways of giving young people who go off the rails a second chance.

He is now a volunteer for the Suffolk Youth Offending Team and will start work as a support worker in August.

Have you transformed your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Youth Steps

Youth Steps is a pilot project between The Prince's Trust, National Youth Agency, and YMCA England, which helps disadvantaged young people break into youth work

The three month voluntary programme consists of a residential trip to help improve leadership and communication skills as well as work placements in youth work

The programme is aimed at people aged 18 to 25

It takes a minimum of 150 hours to complete, over 12 weeks

Those that take part get a level 1 ABC qualification in youth work

SOURCE: Prince's Trust