“I knew I just wanted it to be here. I wanted this to be the start of the rest of my life again”.

Chrissy is passionate about all things cooking, and thoroughly enjoys her job at The Clink Café in Manchester.  She is also proud mum to her teenage daughter, who she describes as her best friend. What a precious life.

Yet it was a very different scene in 2015, when Chrissy was sentenced for conspiracy to supply drugs, having spent years of her adult life battling substance misuse. A difficult time, but one Chrissy says was the best thing that could have happened – it was an opportunity to rid herself of the drugs and make a new start for herself. During her time at HMS Styal, Chrissy enrolled in a catering course at The Clink Restaurant which would provide her with valuable training – an asset for when she’d be released and looking for work.

Even with the catering qualification and her clean, sober health, the approach to her release date was daunting, as she needed to secure a home and employment. It was Sophie, a support worker at The Clink, who set about helping Chrissy to find both a job and a place to live.  Very soon Chrissy had a job interview and was viewing properties, on a day’s release with a Special Purpose Licence from prison.  Chrissy nailed the interview, and with a £350 grant from the Vicar’s Relief Fund, they managed to secure a flat.

“It’s down to Sophie really, it really is. She bent over backwards to help me. There were some points when I was really low. Coming out I didn’t know if I was going to have somewhere to live, a job, and she’s just really given me the kick start because I’ve got further faster than I would have done without her. She’s been amazing, she really has.”

Chrissy shines in the life she has built herself – from the reunion with her daughter, to the sanctuary of the home which they now share together. When we asked how she knew the flat was right for her, she told us:

“I knew I just wanted it to be here. I wanted this to be the start of the rest of my life again.”


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