GAVIN Squires' life hasn't been easy, but he's turning things around for himself and trying to inspire others to do the same.
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For Gavin, the majority of his life has been spent behind bars, coming on the back of a very tough childhood.
"Growing up as a kid, I was abused and beaten, and into criminal stuff - drugs - from a very young age. I've been in and out of institutions for the last 35 years," he said.
"I've done 29 years' jail and the rest in boys' homes. That's pretty much my life, it's all been down this path of jail, drugs."
Being honest about his criminal past, he said he was in jail for armed robbery and drug offences.
Since being released from prison, Gavin has been homeless and seeking support from the Bathurst Uniting Support Services (BUSS).
Through his connection to the service, he has been able to develop a program with BUSS called Outside the Barb Wire.
The program is a weekly support group for those who have been in jail and would like to meet with others with a similar experience for a chat and cuppa.
They can also learn valuable life skills to assist them in living outside of jail.
"When I came out of jail I was homeless - I'm still homeless now - I was coming [to BUSS] for feeds and I was having showers here, and then I just started talking to them, started talking to Julie, and we got this going," Gavin said.
He wanted to start the program to "break that chain" of behaviour for people who have been in jail.
He said that a program like this can help people to restart their lives on the right track after being released.
It is also giving him a purpose and helping him to make progress in his own life.
"I've been clean nearly two years now and I'm not going back to jail in a hurry. I don't miss jail," he said.
"... It just feels good to help someone. Some weeks blokes don't even turn up, but I sit here just because that one that does might be in that headspace and you're going to be there to help them."
He is hopeful that he will soon have a house to live in, so he can continue to take positive steps to turn his life around.
"It's been a hard slog, but I'm getting there," Gavin said.
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