From recovery to a rewarding career

Written by Emerging Futures

How recovery led to a passion for giving others a second chance

In our latest ‘On the Ground’ feature, Housing Manager, James Lock, talks about his passion for providing exceptional homes where people can learn and achieve. He tells us about his own recovery journey and hopes for the future.

Tell us about your progression

I’ve worked for Emerging Futures for around four years. I started as a volunteer, delivering group work, trained as a recovery coach and was then recruited as a housing project worker. I now manage the delivery of safe and therapeutic accommodation for our residents in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

Where did your passion for supporting others begin?

My passion comes from my own experience as a service user. I spent much of my adult life struggling with substances, criminal justice involvement and my mental health. In 2018, I became the fifth resident at a new housing project in Gloucester called Northgate House. This wasn’t your standard ‘dry house’, nor did it operate like any other housing project in Gloucestershire. During my ten months there I was able to rebuild my life.

What made the difference for you?

The support I received from the amazing team who gave their time (often unpaid), had such an impact on my life. I will be forever grateful for the cup of coffee they made me, the chat when I was at my lowest, the referral made and the hope they held for me when I had none.

What does life look like now?

Before getting into recovery in 2018, I led a fairly chaotic life, abandoning my hobbies and interests and putting tremendous strain on many of my close relationships, including with my daughter. We now do lots of things together and with my youngest son. I have a fantastic relationship with her and am the father I always wanted to be.

What do you love most about your job?

My favourite part is working with other people – whether that be supporting a resident to achieve their goals and improve their lives or encouraging team members to develop and progress. You never stop learning in this environment and it is incredibly important to remain open to change.

What are you hopes for people living in recovery in the future?

The new Government Strategy proposes some exceptionally bold and meaningful approaches with a welcome focus on recovery. I hope this produces an abundance of local, peer-led ‘Recovery Communities’ that can promote long-term and meaningful recovery. I also hope our recovery champions with lived experience will take a leading role in this, ensuring more people benefit from our extraordinary support.