A YOUNG entrepreneur has spoken about how embroidery has helped him turn his life around — after spending time in prison.
Now aged 22, Javed Ali spent from January, 2014, to July, 2016, behind bars after being convicted of a blackmail offence.
He spent most of his time inside at a young offenders’ institute, HMYOI Deerbolt, where he was given work in a print workshop and was paid £8 per week.
Mr Ali, of Deane Road, said he wanted people to “say good thing about me “ and decided it was time to make big changes.
He said: “After years of being in trouble with the police, and finally being sent to prison for a few years, I realised that I desperately needed to do something that I could be proud of,”
“I wanted, for once, to give people a chance to think and say good things about me, rather than having to hurt and disappoint people I cared about, all the time.”
He said he “loved” going into work and being given the opportunity to be creative.
Over several months he learned how to create personalised mugs, build canvases, design websites and banners, and print on to garments, but what he enjoyed the most was embroidery.
Mr Ali taught himself how to digitise a design into a sewing pattern with no book or tutorial, and from there his skills improved further until he could fully design an embroidered emblem for customers by having them describe their dream logo.
Now a free man, he is planning to open his own embroidery business, Doodah Embroidery, in Bolton in February or March this year, digitising and printing logos for businesses and companies, or for customers who want their own embroidered clothing or other items just for a bit of fun.
Not only is Mr Ali grateful for the opportunity he was given in prison, but he is also extremely thankful to the youth charity Prince’s Trust, which is helping to set up his new business.
“The charity helps out so many people that might not have had the chance to push themselves and go further,” he said.
“I am very grateful to it for its support and its continued support — it has helped me so much with setting up the business and getting up on my feet.
“There is always someone just a phone call or an email away to offer advice.
“Without them I really don’t know where I would be.”
Speaking about his own rehabilitation and the prison system more generally, Mr Ali said he is passionate that other young people in prison are given the same opportunities as he was.
He said: “Basically the only way you can stop young people reoffending is to give them meaningful activities to do, because otherwise prison can be like a college for criminals.
“Making money the wrong way is a lot easier than making it legally, and criminals just teach each other new ways to commit crime.
“They have just started off their lives and, as a society we do not want them to become career criminals.
“Encouragement and support to change is going to benefit everybody.”
More information about Mr Ali’s forthcoming business venture can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching “Doodah Embroider.