walking away from addiction and gangs in to A LIFE OF FREEDOM AND PURPOSE.
The Walk to Freedom believes in its services and we challenge some of the more dated approaches to drug and/or alcohol dependency, training and adolescent antisocial behaviour in relation to serious youth violence, gang exploitation, knife crime and adolescent drug abuse. By thinking differently with our newly designed and innovative programmes, workshops and mentoring, The Walk To Freedom is in a class of its own delivering a quality service to the local community and nationwide based on the needs of its clients, not on what we think they need.
Referrals are received from the Children in Care,Virtual Schools, Adult and Children Social Services Youth Offender, Probation Services, Education Authorities, Corporate Employers and self referrals.
Founded in 2011, we are run from the foundation up by an ex service user peer led team of highly trained and qualified staff and volunteers, many of whom are able to draw upon personal experiences of conquering dependency and antisocial behaviour. Indeed, our team’s capacity to directly empathise with the complex challenges facing users provides our programmes with a unique perspective that over 7 years has seen many lives freed from addiction and adolescent antisocial behaviour.
We have also successfully seen young people returned to full time education, employment, a number of young people exit from antisocial behaviour, gang and knife crime and we have had a very high success rate in young people who have stopped using recreational drugs or the abuse of them through our back door approach to substance misuse.
Where there has been situations of early pregnancy we have also supported young people through their drug use successfully that their babies were born healthy. Every single ex offender that we have supported has being reported to never have offended again thus far. Being that we work with the social services and other council run youth services reports and updates are always updated on clients who leave our programme for up to or over a year. We also have what's called an open door policy where we keep open dialogue with former clients. Whilst clients are on our programme we use the Outcome Stars tool, and pre,mid and end feedback questionnaires to monitor each clients progress.
a bitter sweet success story of the Walk to freedom
From living in a domestically violent home to a life as a career criminal Mark Clarke, founding CEO, finally ended up having to struggle with the challenges of drug dependency for more than 20 years. He suffered in many ways, sometimes finding himself in prison or on a psychiatric ward. Finally, Mark found freedom during an intensive 16-month rehabilitation programme, which led to him discovering a passion to draw upon his experience to help others.
Mark’s subsequent research and training led to him to working alongside drug and alcohol users to develop a pioneering approach to recovery that is focused on understanding the complexities of dependency from the user’s perspective.
As a result, Mark and his team have been able to help hundreds of users by enabling them to explore the question: ‘Why do I use when I don’t want to use?’ Answering this question – with bravery and honesty – is often the first significant step in the walk to freedom.
This was just the beginning for Mark as he had a passion for young people who were living a life of antisocial behaviour, gang and knife crime like he used to. Mark then in an effort to address this issue in communities studied criminology, adolescent behaviour and psychology, and from there developed the I AM POSSIBLE YOUTH CHALLENGE personal development workshops and mentoring programme which over 5 years has seen many people begin to make a successful exit away from antisocial behaviour and knife crime into either further education, employment, and find their passion and purpose in life.
THE WORK CONTINUES!
why - how - what
is Why we think differently?
What makes the Walk to Freedom unique is that firstly it has not only been built upon the life experiences of the founding CEO but also the life experiences of every single dependent service user he ever came across and their families alongside other practitioners in the service who themselves were drug or alcohol dependant.
Through investigating the Psychosocial Disorder for young people, we have identified the growing issue of what we call Peer Group and Social Interaction Identity Formations, meaning that some young people form their identities through peer group relationships and social interaction that take them away from discovering their own identity through the journey of adolescence.
The Walk to Freedom mentoring programme assesses the identity formations of its clients and empowers them toward discovering their own identity and individuality and goals to life by using what we call a Care Fronting Approach
delivering a service based on what our clients want not what we think they need
The Walk to Freedom has identified the problems of a person not completing their recovery by conducting extensive independent questionnaires with service users to assess the issues relating to recovery failure and relapse. From our findings the Walk to Freedom developed its Dependency Support Programme to complete and fill in the gaps necessary for a person to become and remain free from their dependency.
This programme is flexible enough to work alongside any other recovery programme as again it completes a person’s recovery and therapeutic pathway to freedom and independence. The Walk to Freedoms uniqueness is carried over because it explores with the client the complex issue and character defects that are adopted whilst in dependency to help them answer the critical question on every problematic user’s mind of “why do I use when I don’t want to use and when I shouldn’t use I still do?
Through the CEO's personal life as a user and as a practitioner, he found when it came to support for families or organisations who have dependency issues within its community there was a lack of understanding and help for them to be able to understand the user and how to engage with one on either a community level or a personal one. This belief would also extend to the young people he would meet through his community ties with other organisations, that in this day and age there needed to be a much more direct and rigorous approach to the issues that young people are having to face today with the recent spike in gang related knife crime,and antisocial behaviour.