A female client, working in retail, came to the centre for employment law advice. She was being referred to a disciplinary by her manager. The manager alleged that the client had not followed company refund procedure. Yet, the client believed that the real reason she was being disciplined was because she was due to go on maternity leave.
It was alleged that the client had authorised a customer return for an item which is not sold by the store. The customer had bought two items and later returned two items, one of which was alleged not to belong to the store. The alleged price difference in the items is £4. She was accused of failing to follow the company refund policy.
Under further investigation it emerged that no policy or procedures were ever provided. In fact, the client’s work record showed that she was often rewarded for preventing fraudulent activity by customers. Referring the client to the disciplinary process a week before she was due to go on maternity leave caused client to suffer anxiety. And she was worried about losing the baby.
We represented client in her disciplinary hearing and defended her. The result was that no action was taken against her.
Mr P was referred to the Prison Project by the Probation Service. He was a petty criminal, with multiple convictions. The vast majority of his crimes were committed to fund his drug addiction. He had been homeless for some years, interspersed with many short custodial sentences. This time in prison only served to feed his addiction and unsettled lifestyle without addressing the root causes.
Mr P started attending our breakfast club a couple of years ago and was always very polite, helpful and willing to engage. At this time he was moving between various ‘squats’ with a couple of acquaintances. However, he was willing to address his drug use so we linked him in with Achieve ( Drug and alcohol services ). Mr P engaged really well and started to reduce his drug use. Over a period of around 12 months he became clean of drugs and met a woman (un-convicted, no drug or alcohol issues). We helped them identify a property away from this area so he could break ties with former bad influences. They now rent this property and are expecting a child. Mr P still visits the breakfast club (in between hospital scans, pregnancy classes etc.) and they are starting on their new, drug and crime-free life.
Mr. A was in prison when he saw a leaflet about the Salford Prison Project. He wanted to turn his life around and wrote to SUCRC asking us how we could help him. We visited Mr. A, a 55 year old man, born in South Africa, although a British Citizen who had lived and worked in the UK for many years. He was on remand, charged with two counts of confidence fraud and was expecting a custodial sentence. He pleaded guilty to the offences and was sentenced to 20 months on each count to run concurrently. With good behaviour this meant he would serve 10 months, 5 of which had already been served on remand.
Upon release, Mr. A was unable to return to the area where he committed his offences and wished to settle in the Salford area where he had no local connection. Salford Prison Project arranged for supported accommodation but within a week had secured his own stable accommodation and was already relentlessly job hunting, for paid work. This is not easy with a criminal record, but with our support and belief in him he persevered.
We introduced him to the Mustard Tree charity as he wanted to use the 7 languages he speaks to help others learn English as a second language on a voluntary basis. Mr. A maintained all his Probation and Job Centre appointments whilst volunteering and looking for employment. During this period Mr. A made the decision to start a whole new life for himself, including changing his name. We, along with Mr. A, obtained all the required permission from Probation and the Home Office for Mr. A to become Mr. B which was an important step in turning his life around.
Mr. B got a break when he was offered a work trial with an insurance company in Manchester which he passed with flying colours to be employed on a permanent basis one month later. Mr. B continued to thrive in his job and was promoted after eight months to branch manager.
When Mr. B finished his Probation License period he visited his sons in Mali, built bridges with them and met his grandchildren for the first time. He has also started two businesses, one in Manchester and one in his native South Africa and he now splits his time between the two countries.
Mr. C is a 42 year old man with an extensive history of substance abuse and criminal activity to fund his substance addiction. He was referred to Salford Prison Project by his drug worker at the Community Drug and Alcohol team for extra support in the community.
Shortly after the referral Mr. C was admitted to hospital as he also suffers from COPD.
We visited him in hospital and were told that Mr. C needed a double lung transplant, but even then his life expectancy was estimated to be only 5 years. Mr. C was still misusing drugs and a meeting was held between ourselves, Tenancy Support, his drug worker and a member of his medical team to try and find a way forward. Based on information at this meeting it transpired that Mr. C, realistically, only had around 2 years to live. It was decided that support was to be offered in a palliative way, without an emphasis on reducing Mr. C’s drug use. Over the next few weeks Mr. C spent increasing amounts of time in hospital to increase his oxygen levels.
We contacted the Salford Tenancy Support team to explore housing options for Mr. C when he left hospital. The response from Tenancy support was excellent and they found suitable ground floor temporary accommodation as a short term solution until stable longer term accommodation could be arranged. Then a bungalow, was found in an area for people over 40 and Mr. C was supported to move in by ourselves, his drug worker and tenancy support; with home visits as Mr. C cannot travel far because of his health problems.
To aid his damaged lungs, Mr. C was provided with an oxygen machine and cylinders in his home so we arranged for the Fire Service to visit Mr. C’s home for a safety check and talk to Mr. C about the safety implications; which he complied with. We were still in contact with his sister who lives 200miles, to keep her informed about how Mr.C was doing.
Several months later Mr. C was admitted to hospital as his health deteriorated and Salford Prison Project were contacted by the medical staff at his request. We visited him in in hospital, and were told by the medical team that they were starting ‘end of life’ care. Mr. C’s family were travelling to his bedside when sadly he passed away. Salford Prison Project remained there until they arrived.
At the request of the family Salford Prison Project attended the funeral and the wake and was humbled by the kind words from the family about the support given during Mr. C’s illness.
Upon release from HMP Manchester, 55 year old Mr. D went into bail accommodation in Salford. However, as an Irish Republic National Mr.D had no National Insurance (NI) number meaning he was unable to claim benefits so ha dno way to buy food or pay the rent on his accomodation.
Salford Prison Project intervened to help Mr.D get an NI number. This requires a passport but Mr.D had to surrender his passport to the Courts / Police to prevent him leaving the country whilst on probation. This meant going back to the courts to request access to his passport which was granted and finally Mr.D got an NI number, enabling him to claim benefit.
This whole process took around 4 months during which time our breakfast club and food bank sustained Mr.D and, with the Prison Project’s support and advice, enabled him to overcome all the bureaucratic obstacles put in his way.
Mr. D now volunteers at the breakfast club and also takes turns, along with other beneficiaries, to cook hot meals at our healthy eating sessions. He has now, with the assistance of Salford Tenancy Support team, got his own flat and is settling in. He is a well-respected and a well thought of participant who now offers valuable advice and support to other beneficiaries.
Mr. D is now also involved with Salford Poverty Truth and recently was a speaker at an event held in London where he spoke to a large invited audience about his life experiences and his vision for the future. He is now undertaking ‘permissible work’ and is really enjoying his situation and recognizes how far he has come in a relatively short space of time.