Born and raised in Carlisle, Tyler was abused physically and mentally by his mum. When he was 12 years old, he was hanging out with a bad crowd and started to dabble in drugs and alcohol. He would steal medication from his grandma’s cupboards just to see what the effects would be, but no one else in his family knew what he was doing.
Growing up, Tyler didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He knew he wanted to leave Carlisle, but left school aged 16 with no qualifications. At 17 Tyler lost his apprenticeship job, was kicked out of the family home, and sofa surfed for a short while with friends and family. He couldn’t find any services to support him, so he decided to join the army.
Tyler spent three years in the army, during which time his drug use escalated, and when he left he spent several weeks without anywhere to live.
“I was homeless but partying a lot,” recalls Tyler. “In a weird way, I felt like I’d found my vocation in the music, drugs and partying scene. I felt like I fit in. It almost made me more addicted to drugs.”
After reflecting on his career, Tyler decided to reenlist in the armed forces and make a real go of it. But within six months of his return, Tyler was caught during a burglary with a range of drugs in his possession. He was put in military prison and dishonourably discharged.
After his release, Tyler was back on the streets. He spent some time living in squats and sofa surfing.
Inspiring young people to succeed
This time, he decided he needed help. He reached out to the Colchester social services, who found him a place at Phoenix House in London.
While there, Tyler enrolled onto an access course for youth, community and social work and went on to achieve a post-graduate diploma in specialist addiction. “I realised I could use my experiences to give back and help others like me”, he says. After completing the course Tyler then started his career in counselling.
Three years ago, Tyler joined the Centrepoint Housing team in Yorkshire. Today he is Regional Manager for Yorkshire, overseeing all of our services in the region.
“I’m really proud every day. I’ve got amazing staff and the work they do with young people is outstanding. The time, effort and commitment they have for our young people is second to none. Everything every day is an achievement.
“I truly believe if someone like me can come from where I did and achieve what I have then anyone can; you just need a helping hand sometimes. My job is to provide as much support as I can to influence and inspire my staff and young people to succeed. I’m open with them with my life story because it’s personable and people can connect to it.”
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