Life Chances Matter

Imagine you’re a 14 year old girl. Your mum is a single parent. Your dad’s had nothing to do with you since you were a toddler.

As you’ve grown up, your mum has had lots of other boyfriends and you’ve got two half-brothers and a half-sister.

They are much younger than you. You’ve seen your mum’s boyfriends drink and do drugs and, sometimes, they’ve knocked your mum about. So it figures that you’ve got a bad image of men. You resent your mum for being weak and getting involved with them.

You also resent the fact that you’ve had to play ‘mum’ to your brothers and sister. You missed out on being a kid yourself and it’s not fair. You get angry about that. You get angry about loads, to be honest.

One thing that helps with being angry is drinking. So you’ve tried it, and you’ve tried drugs. And the truth is it seems to help. And you’ve done some other things. Like stealing.

Nobody really gets what it’s like for you. Your mum just thinks about herself. Your siblings are just kids. Most people don’t have a clue and it does your head in when they think they do. In fact, you’ve never met anyone you can trust, or who you can really talk to.

But you’ve got a group of friends who do get it. Some of them do stupid things, like dealing and other criminal stuff. Stealing handbags. Stealing phones. But they’ve gone through similar stuff as you and so you stick with them.

You see, if this was your childhood you’d probably be doing some stupid things too.

At St Giles Trust we know how the circumstances and chances in someone’s life can lead to them committing crime. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes bad things spiral.

We know how to address things when they do. You might not have even heard of us. We’re not a well known charity. Nothing flashy. But what we do, really works.

We help people leave gangs. We help people stop offending. A lot of us have had to change the way we were acting, too. So we know what we’re talking about.

We also know that support services that only last a few years don’t work. We know that things have to be consistent to be effective. It’s no good saying ‘we can help for a bit’ to a 14-year old who needs to make a lot of big changes in their life. That takes time.

But to keep helping people St Giles Trust needs money. And you could help us. All we’re asking for is £10. We’re asking you and we’re asking other people who understand, so when we put those donations together it will add up and make a big difference.