Switchback Jan 18 What they've been up to this month: Earnest’s story Being released from prison in time for Christmas might sound like the best present in the world. But the reality is very different – with many of the vital support systems that ex-offenders need shut for the period between Christmas and New Year. Making sure that Switchback Trainees can manage during that time is a vital part of what Switchback Mentors do. Earnest was released from prison on Friday 22nd December with nowhere to live and on the day Switchback closed over the festive period. Nevertheless, Monique met Earnest at his probation office, and they were directed to go to his local Council offices to address his homelessness. When they arrived, it was already closed for Christmas. After a collection of lengthy phone calls with support from Monique, Earnest’s was offered temporary accommodation until the 27th December. But when the meeting came round on 27tn, no further accomodation was offered – something many Switchback Trainees struggle with in London. Earnest spent until New Year sofa surfing at various friends’ houses – many of whom are still firmly rooted in crime. Despite being put in this difficult situation, Earnest resisted any temptation to turn back to criminal activity. When Switchback reopened on 2nd January, Earnest was at the door, waiting for his appointment with Monique so that he could start solving his housing issues, begin his shifts in our partner café, and working towards leading the life he wants – away from crime. Now in the swing of the New Year, Earnest is yet to have a permanent residence but has started his shifts in our partner training café. Monique will continue to support him with not only his housing but all other areas of his life. It takes a huge amount of commitment to completely change your life after prison and we’re looking forward to seeing where Earnest’s determination will take him!