0.00.00 My name is Jim Dale. I’m from Stoke-on-Trent. I run a community project called Youth Regeneration Initiative. That’s totally voluntary at the moment and the backbone of what we do is, well hopefully set up mutual support meetings across the North Staffordshire area for young people, 16 to 25 at the moment, who are at risk of addiction, crime and mental distress. I’m a recovering addict myself both alcohol and drugs.
0.00.30 Alcohol was always my fallback drug of choice, you know, that is the one that’s done me the most physical damage. I think I was more outgoing actually when I was at school. It could have been the drink and drugs. I didn’t leave school with many qualifications at all. I did get in with a very bad crowd. When I was at school, on the drug side of it, my family did know but what can they do? You know, you can’t physically hold somebody in.
0.01.00 There came a point where they had to let go. Obviously I was still in contact with them but I just couldn’t be around them cos it was causing them too much distress to see me the way I was. My dad was a fireman and my mum did various agency work. So it put a lot of strain on them cos they’d obviously go out to work, come back and then deal with me being brought in by the Police at four o’clock in the morning or something like that, or being arrested, taken from the house. So we just, it added pressure on the family.
0.01.30 On one occasion I nearly got shot, on more than one occasion I nearly got shot. We were actually going up Wolverhampton to get a large amount of drugs and two guns and next thing you know gun comes out, money, thank you very much, so we all ran back into the car and drove off. I thought oh no, I’m going to get shot now. But there’s been many situations like that that have turned out very, very sour. It come to a point where I was very unwell.
0.02.00 I went to see a doctor at our local detox ward and she says where do you see yourself in five years time? I said oh I don’t really know, you know. And she says well, you’ll be dead. And that gave me a bit of a kick up the backside and made me want to sort of turn my life around. I was in detox for two weeks and then I went into rehab for 16 weeks I think it was. Rehab was really the turning, the real turning point. That was where there was, I got all the tools, you know, all the recovery tools, you know, to put in my toolbox and move forward.
0.02.30 I came up with the idea initially for YRI, got an appointment, went down to see Richard Sutcliffe at our local Prince’s Trust, had a chat with him and him and Christine Sutcliffe supported us all the way, you know. They’ve really helped us. They’ve offered me loads of different training opportunities. Very lucky to have found it really, you know, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life the support I’ve had. Come my spare time at the moment,
0.03.00 I haven’t got a lot of spare time but I like to go walking in the peaks with my old man. We go plane wrecking in the peak district. We find old plane wrecks and make walking a bit more interesting. My relationship with my parents now is very strong. It’s very good, very positive. Now they can be more actively supportive because I am clean, I am sober and I am moving forward. And yeah, we’ve got a brilliant relationship. My role as young ambassador, well I came into the role a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve done stuff I never thought I’d do.
0.03.30 I went down to the Houses of Commons earlier this week as part of a Select Committee on knife crime which is, was just amazing, you know, brilliant experience. If somebody had said to me that I was going to be in London, the Houses of Commons or something like that, I’d say shut up, you know, it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.