Tuesday 21 January 2020
Aberto Carcavilla is a former Forward client and More Than My Past Ambassador. Find out how he got involved in the campaign and how it has impacted him.
I first became involved with Forward at HMP Wayland. I was suffering from the consequences of detoxing and imprisonment. Martin Sanderson, who was a Deacon in the prison, was helping me at the time – he was the first person to really help me inside. He suggested that I enrol on the substance misuse programme run by RAPt (now called The Forward Trust).
Today, I am a Trustee for the charity Beating Time, which enables people serving prison sentences to find, or create, work when they are released. Beating Time helped me in prison, inviting me to be part of their choir at HMP Maidstone – a wonderful experience that has led to a love of singing. I am also a coordinator for the charity "Carnaval del Pueblo", who stage events to celebrate, promote and develop a greater understanding of Latin American Culture. I play a major part in the events they do. Through this charity, I met The Ibero-American Association of the Metropolitan Police and I am now helping them with an anti-knife campaign. In my day job, I work as a photographer for Snappy Snaps.
When I was release from prison, I went to rehab at Forward's residential rehab, The Bridges. When I got back home, I was assigned a counsellor by Forward and told them I was willing to help them in whatever way I could. They got in contact to tell me about More Than My Past and the rest is history!
There have been a few proud moments for me during the campaign so far. On a personal level, recording my story was emotional, talking about some really difficult moments in my life. My partner witnessed the recording and gave me such love and support. I am really proud to have found such a caring and compassionate relationship.
My favourite thing about the campaign are its ambitious aims to change policies and attitudes. I truly believe that, because of this campaign and what it inspires, we will change the way we see people who have experienced addiction and crime. In years to come, I hope that people will be mortified at the way we currently treat people struggling with substance misuse issues. My dream is that it will be the norm for them to be given love, support, understanding and the help they need to turn their lives around, instead of stigma.