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Former heroin addict turns life around with social landlord's help

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Former heroin addict turns life around with social landlord's help

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Former heroin addict turns life around with social landlord's help Former heroin addict turns life around with social landlord's help

An ex-offender who has spent most of his life in prison has turned his life around with the help of a social enterprise aimed at cleaning up 'grot spots'.

Gary Conway, 43, met Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd in October, when he visited a scheme Mr Conway was working on.

And Mr Conway, who become addicted to crack cocaine and heroin when he was just 15, has now secured a full-time job with social landlord Adactus Housing.

After being released from prison in July last year after serving a 10-month sentence for shoplifting, Mr Conway was given a life-line by Your Environmental Team (YET), a scheme set up in north Manchester to clean up ‘grot spots’ - areas which can lend themselves to criminal activity.

The aim of the project, which was set up by housing providers across the area, including Northwards Housing and Adactus, is to improve the local environment and stop the cycle of crime. To date, it has resulted in a 60% reduction in reoffending rates.

When Mr Conway's six-month contract came to an end, he was immediately offered a full-time position with Adactus, working on keeping its estates clean.

He said: “I can’t tell you what this job means to me. It’s turned my prospects around, given me an entirely new way of looking at the world.

“I’m so grateful for everything and I know that this is the start of good things for me.”

Greg Cain from Adactus, said: “Gary is a top worker and always gives his best. We are so lucky to have him on the team.”

The team is managed by Blue Sky, a social enterprise backed by environmental charity Groundwork, with help from Greater Manchester Probation Trust.

The other social landlords behind YET are Arawak Walton, Great Places, Guinness Northern Counties, Johnnie Johnson and Places for People.

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