Driving Ahead

‘Robert’ was convicted of manslaughter after a tragic accident.  He feels immense remorse for what happened and cannot yet forgive himself.

When he was released from prison in 2022, he retreated from public contact and, knowing virtually no-one, was referred to SWCC for help to counter his isolation and to gain some social and life skills.  Nervous about going out alone, his mentor suggested that she pick him up and then take him to various local cafés for each of their meetings. 

In those early days, Robert was very withdrawn and uncommunicative, polite but distant. But as time has gone by, and he has begun to trust his mentor more, he has found himself able to talk through things quite deeply. He and his mentor have met around 30 times since and quite a lot of practical issues have been resolved. Things like replacing his well-worn clothes, sorting out the appropriate benefits, applying for a driving licence, getting the right medications, accessing some bereavement counselling and sourcing a secondhand pushbike.  But importantly, he has felt able to talk freely and not fear being ‘judged’. Gradually, he is being able to face up to some of the longstanding difficulties in his life that he had buried in the sand.

The months have passed and now Robert feels almost ready to start working again. He would like to be a delivery driver. With his provisional licence in hand, he wanted to start having driving lessons, but with money tight wasn’t sure whether he could afford it.  He also feared not being able to master the skills he needed. So his mentor secured a modest grant to pay for two lessons to try it out.  He has now had these two sessions and feels confident to continue with the driving instructor; he made up his mind that he would carefully manage his money so that he can afford to pay for more instruction.  He’ll soon be taking his theory test.  He looks forward to the day when he can get about independently and earn a wage. 

Of course, Robert continues struggle with regret for things that have happened in the past, but things are shifting gradually. He is looking forward more and has more hope for the future.  He feels that some of his family relationships are improving too.