EH Case Study
EH became known to us when he attended a Workshop 5 project at Feltham back in 2013. He worked well during the project and showed strong leadership skills, although he was struggling elsewhere in the prison due to peer pressure; he had recently had bleach thrown in his eyes by another prisoner, who had been from his area outside, because EH had not participated in a fight between boys from his area and some other group. So from the day we met him we noticed that he was somebody who was really trying to change his life around.
His work on the project was good and we continued to support him with mentoring sessions where possible until his release. He was still enrolled in college whilst in prison and was having work sent in; his focus on achieving his qualifications to go to University and study music was impressive, especially given the circumstances he endured. When he came out of prison he called us and asked for mentoring support; we had one meeting with him, in which he talked about going on to University the following year and in the meantime getting a job and keeping his head down, but then he went off the radar.
Some months later he contacted us again and explained that he had been arrested and spent some time in prison on remand (because of his previous record) but that the incident had involved people he used to know and he was dragged in by way of association.
Now out again, he made more serious attempts at getting on the OS program and showed greater commitment to the programme and working with OS mentor Todd Speakman.
Over the last 8 months EH has attended Todd’s studio in North West London regularly, learning about the studio business from the ground up and getting a chance to work on his composition and mixing. Recently, with Todd’s help, he has pulled together an impressive array of musicians and singers to help him record his debut EP, which features all his own material. During this time Todd has supported EH through his work life and search for jobs and has been instrumental in getting applications off to Universities and securing two offers. Eventually EH decided to go to Southampton to study, partly because the course seemed like the right one, but also because it was far from home where he still feared people from his past.
EH has shown intelligence, commitment, patience and resolve over the last 2 years to arrive at this place. His criminal activities would earn him over £1000 per week prior to his jail sentence, and he readily admits he found it hard to learn to live on less money. But he managed it. He constantly said he was still too close to certain influences around his area that threatened to pull him back into criminality, but he worked hard at avoiding them. With the help of OS he has not only been able to envisage what a more positive future might look, but he has experienced it in the work he has done in Todd’s studio, where he has interacted with professional musicians, music business people and young people who he has guided and mentored musically in the process of putting together his EP. He even ate humble pie and happily took a lesson from a 17 year old singer/guitar player on how to effectively set up instagram/twitter/FB so it would work as the perfect online tool for promoting his musical activity.