Older and wiser: Fedell’s new agenda

16 December 2019

“I got caught up in the wrong crowd you could say, smoking the wrong the stuff,” says 39-year-old Fedell Jackson, who was recently released from prison after serving time for possession of a banned substance with intent to supply.


“I went through college to no avail, didn’t really take anything in, and didn’t achieve any merit or certificate or anything.


“Basically went into work from there, came out of work, spent the money as you do when you’re in your teens. Parents split up, things got worse and (I was) still with the wrong crowd doing the same recreational high.


“I’d an idea to start off my own little business venture and… (the police) caught me with a bit of green.”


Fedell is taking part in a pilot programme run by Forward Trust and supported with DWP funding secured by Brent Council, which helps ex-offenders who, given their criminal past would otherwise struggle finding work, adapt back into society. He says that time spent in prison gave him an opportunity to reflect.


“I went inside for six months they gave me, (but I) did three months” Fedell says.


“From there I got pretty sick of this dead end paper round that put me into Scrubs. It gave me a lot of time on my hands to look at my life in perspective as of where I’m going and what I’m going do from there.


“You get older and you get wiser, and (my) circle of friends has changed.”


Cllr Amer Agha, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment and Skills, said:


“Figures show that ex-offenders who don’t find work are more likely to reoffend, and so helping ex-offenders like Fedell, who have come through the justice system, completely makes sense.


“It makes sense not only as it gives someone a second chance in life, but also in helping to reduce reoffending, we are also reducing crime, which is in all of our interests.


“That’s why we are working with the Forward Trust to help ex-offenders back into work.”


Gee Punia, Head of Employment and Skills at the Forward Trust, said:


“On a daily basis, our employment coach will help produce CV’s, covering letters, but also do mock interviews for the individuals, but also talk about how to best sell themselves at an interview and disclose their past, as that’s a really important part of the process.”


With help from the Forward Trust, Fedell is working hard to find employment and while he knows as an ex-offender it will a challenge, he is committed to getting his life back on track and seeing his plan come to fruition.


“Personally, I think I’ve left it all a little too late” says Fedell, “but a lot of elders tell me there’s a lot life left in the old dog yet, (and) that’s me…with an agenda you can say, that will drive me to where I need to be.”