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To quote Sam Gamgee at the end of ‘The Return of the King’, ‘Well, I’m back’, to which I’d add, ‘home’.

Home. What a great place to be! I’m so grateful for the place I call home and the family I get to share it with, maybe especially when I’ve been away, with most of the comforts of home missing for the past weeks. But even in the most challenging moments I knew it was there, and that in itself was sustaining. It was a fixed point, a foundation that I knew wasn’t changing. Wherever I was, I knew I could always go back there.

A home is where you are feel safe and protected from extremes of cold and heat, wind and rain, as well as the bad weather of life. But although you can get many of these qualities from a basic physical place, (I felt some of that even in a tent in a storm or two) a real home is built over time on positive memories, and by the positive interactions you have in that place with other people in your life. Homes, as opposed to simply houses or flats, have qualities of peace, rest and sanctuary and are life-giving places.

So, so many of the young people we support don’t have ‘homes’. Some may never have had a place they’d genuinely call home. Many have places they live and sleep, Sometimes that means someone else’s sofa. Because of their circumstances leaving prison, they often don’t get to choose where they live and often have to change accommodation frequently and at short notice and in the worst cases can end up on the streets.

In2Out doesn’t have the resources to provide housing for our young people - much as we’d like to - but we do try to support them to find and build a home where they are because we understand how important it is to have a firm foundation. That might include helping them apply for housing and supporting their move, as well as providing some furniture or furnishings, helping them to be creative to make it their own. And we try to support them in all the life skills that are needed to run a home, whether that’s cooking, cleaning or budgeting. All the things that can help sustain them in that place and start to put roots down. Often times their mentor is the person they want to invite around to cook for, or cook together with - building skills and positive memories. So many lack family around who even care how they’re doing.

I’m so proud to be part of this amazing In2Out team that helps build hope, and in some cases homes, for these great young people. It’s such a joy to see them progress to places that most people couldn’t imagine, and certainly beyond what they ever thought possible for themselves. So much is built on the foundations of positive relationships, affirmation and encouragement and a place to start to call home. These are the launch pad for everything else.

So now as the tiredness starts to flow through me (I still woke up at 5am this morning!) and my feet demand some TLC I am so grateful that I have a home to come back to.

And when you have something so positive you want others to experience that too.


So, that’s me done, unless I come back with a quick update on the fundraising in the coming days before we close it off. So this is the last call, as we’re not there yet. 😀

Just a final thank you for coming with me on the journey. I expected it to be tough, but it was tougher and it was so much harder when I was alone. Young people leaving prison face a far, far tougher and longer journey than mine, and often without the skills, experience, resources, support and encouragement to sustain them. All things I had.

Thankfully, we all have an opportunity to change that.

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3 commentaires

Great reflections!



I've been following your adventure with increasing awe, admiration, and grateful thanks that I didn't have to do it. Huge congratulations on your amazing achievement: I think you - and your feet - deserve plenty of TLC over the next few days and weeks!

Thank you, too, for highlighting so graphically the challenges facing young people leaving custody, especially those with no supportive home background. It's a salutary reminder of so many of the things that we just take for granted which these young people don't have.., but which In2Out can at least attempt to provide.

Keep up the good work!


So pleased to hear that you are back home Mark. Very well done on achieving your goal, and I hope your financial goal will be reached very soon. Following your journey has been amazing. Thank you. God bless.

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