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One of the organisations Re:vision works with is Calico Enterprise (CE). CE aims to be a catalyst for change in people’s lives and deliver a broad range of service offers that support individuals and families. Acorn Recovery is one project that CE runs which provides a range of recovery services which enable individuals and their families break free from drug, alcohol and other addictions. Brad* is one example of a candidate that the Acorn Recovery project has helped.

Brad’s story

Brad had a disruptive start to his life. He was brought up by his mother who got involved in an abusive relationship with this step-dad. Some of his earliest memories were of his mum being assaulted downstairs whilst he and his sister sat in their bedrooms scared and not knowing what to do. He wanted to help his mum but couldn’t and as a result grew up feeling scared and helpless. When he was in his first year of secondary school, he came home to find that his mum had tried to take her own life and it was at this point Brad turned to soft drugs as an escape.

It started off with cannabis and alcohol, but this eventually turned to heroin which is when Brad’s life completely spiralled out of control; he got involved in crime to feed his addiction and spent many years in and out of prison. When he wasn’t in prison Brad had nowhere to go so was homeless which in turn led to him committing more crimes for money, so it was a vicious cycle. By this point his mum had taken her own life as well so getting his next fix was his only focus. It was by chance that Brad bumped into some-one from Acorn who told him that if he wanted support to change, they could help, he just had to want to change and commit to it.

Brad was committed and began the programme; he attended meetings and did a 6-week rehab. For the first time in 20 years he felt alive again. Acorn also supported Brad with his housing and employability support. It started with volunteering which Brad has subsequently admitted that every day seemed like a battle at first but the volunteering started to give his life some meaning and feel like he had a purpose.

Once his confidence had been built through his volunteering experience Brad wanted to move into paid employment but knew it would be hard given his past history and having to disclose this to employers. A caretaking role came up with the Calico group and whilst Brad was interested in the position his inner demons started to doubt himself wondering why he should bother to apply as he had received so many knockbacks. His advisor at Acorn worked hard to keep him positive and supported him to complete the application. They also helped him with interview preparation. Brad impressed at the interview and was offered the job!

“It was the best move I made! I couldn’t quite believe it when I was offered the role. For the
first time in my life, I felt supported. Calico and Acorn
gave me a chance when no one else would. They supported me through my darkest times and gave me
a chance to be a contributing member of society, not in spite of the life I had led but because of it. They embraced my knowledge and experience.”


"Brad’s life has completed turned round since started work, he has a home earns his own money whilst learning new skills every day. Brad is thankful to Acorn and all the staff who have supported him through his journey which has given him a new sense of being and enabled him to be proud of himself!"