A former drug addict and dealer who has turned his life around wants to help people in Luton.
Rob Joy, 38, has spoken about how finding his faith helped him turn his life around and he now wants to help others who are struggling the way he was.
Rob started taking drugs when he was 15, he grew up on a rough estate in Letchworth Garden City and became known as a violent drug dealer and addict and went to prison twice. After his dad died his life spiralled out of control until he found his faith which he described as a radical transformation.
He said: “I found Christianity 13 years ago and for me it was an explosive overnight radical transformation. My addiction to drugs was hardcore and it consumed my life, there was also the alcohol and violence that came with the drugs.
“I was depressed and even at one stage suicidal, when all the drugs, friends and women had gone I would often cry about my lifestyle and my father’s death. When I got to my lowest point I prayed to Jesus to see if he could save a man like me, that night, for the first time in three years, I slept all night long and when I woke up I had no desire for drugs.”
Rob described his mum’s church as practically loving and that was one of the reasons why he set up SOAR in Luton, to practically help people. The community building on New Bedford Road, in the town centre, is used by himself and his wife Lydia, to reach people in Luton and it is funded by their decorating company, Finishing Touches.
The father-of-three said: “I believe in practical work it is no good just preaching, that is why we have this space.
“We provide hot drinks, a warm place to sit and have a chat, we have people come in and we help them fill out forms or CVs. We want it to be a place where anyone can find hope and help.”