Sept 2002

T.H.O.M.A.S can help you change your life

My name is David Hine and I’m an ex-client of the T.H.O.M.A.S. Organisation run by Father Jim McCartney. I’m currently at Plater College in Oxford doing a pathway course in Social Administration.

In the six months I’ve been here I’ve discovered that I can do something that I want to do if I put my mind to it. I’ve also got a whole new social life and a new set of friends. The future looks bright. I’m looking at becoming more self-sufficient i.e. working and finding somewhere to live.
At Plater we get up at eight O’clock in the morning and have breakfast. We are in lectures for nine. The lectures could carry on until lunch and then we have an hour or two break before we go back into lectures. They then carry on until five O’clock. Some days are only half days but we have reading work and essays to do. Basically, it’s made me realise that I can get out of something what I put into.

The Social Administration course teaches you about the society we live in. There are also more personal elements to the course such as psychology as well.

T.H.O.M.A.S. gave me the opportunity of making a clean break which at the time is what I really needed. It also gave me the link with Plater College and the belief that I could fulfil the course here. Fortunately, up to now, it’s been pretty fruitful. You start to regain your social skills and confidence, maybe never to the potential that you had before, but you do get them back. With living in this community and not being as self-sufficient as I’d like to be it’s taught me a little bit about myself. It’s set me up for what’s going to be a good summer, a clean summer anyway. After the experience of the previous six months I’m looking forward to it.

The last criminal offence I committed was shoplifting a week before I came to T.H.O.M.A.S.. I got taken to the magistrate’s court and received a £30 fine. Also, since being at Plater I’ve finished a two-year probation order. The past is staying with the past for me. I’m grateful for the help from T.H.O.M.A.S. at this point because it’s a crucial stage as we look at moving on from Plater, becoming independent and finding our own accommodation.

Life in Oxford has been very pleasant since I arrived. I like it that much that I want to stop down here. The other lads feel pretty much the same about Oxford as well. It’s a totally different way of life, a clean and tidy place. The people we do know are not addicts and we don’t have that worry of bumping into people and seeing who’s using. That’s one worry which has been removed from my thoughts anyway. It’s a good life and I'm happy here.

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