A 22-year-old man who has turned his life around with the help of charity, A Band of Brothers, has spoken about his experiences.
Jake Gynn, from Eastbourne, found out about A Band of Brothers when some of the men from the charity called in at the YMCA hostel where he was staying.
A Band of Brothers helps men who have had a tough time turn their lives around by using a mentor scheme.
Jake said, “It just came at the right time for me. I was feeling lost and depressed and really didn’t have any support. There was nothing going on in my life. I met up with Harvey and Mark and I really liked their energy.
“I trusted what they said without knowing why.
“We also started talking about personal stuff straight away and that was unusual.”
Jake found himself at the YMCA after spending many years in care.
He said, “At 14, I was taken out of my family home and put in a foster home, then a children’s home. Then at 18, I ended up at the YMCA.”
A Band of Brothers uses mentors to help the men complete what is calls a Quest.
Jake said, “I had no idea what I was going to do. I thought it was going to be rock climbing and canoeing. It turned out to be one of the most life-changing events in my life.
“When I was actually there, there was a time when I wanted to leave but I stuck it out and it has changed my perspective on everything.
“It allowed me to let go of the deep sadness and guilt that I’d been carrying around since I was a child. It was such a relief to be able to release it. I also let go of all the feelings around not having my dad around for much of my growing up.”
Jake had a great relationship with his mentor Ronnie. He said, “Ronnie is an old Scotsman with a wicked sense of humour.
“At first, it felt bizarre having a mentor to meet up with. It was awkward because I wasn’t used to having this male figure in my life. But gradually we built up a relationship and humour was key.
“There was never a dull moment. We’d meet every week at the chippie before the weekly meeting.”
A Band of Brothers gets its funding from the John Jackson Charitable Trust and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.