"Common Purpose gave me one of the most satisfying experiences I have had in my entire professional career. When I did the programme, I was Chief Executive of a construction business employing around 300 people, and it was fascinating to mix with people in the voluntary and public sectors whose reporting and funding structures didn't give them the ability just to get things done. I came out thinking how lucky I was to be in a commercial business.
"On a visit to hostel, we had a heart-wrenching discussion with a man who I shall call David, who explained how his life was effectively ended because of his time in prison. He read out a letter saying how he could see the bottom rung of the ladder but was never going to reach it. He appeared to be a good man. I went home and thought "why couldn't he be a security guard on a building site? Could I give him that bottom rung?"
David started working on site two weeks later, on a project that involved the restoration of a historic church. Gradually he started to climb the ladder. Two years later he got married at the church where he had become a member of the congregation, and set up home with his wife. Five years later, David still works for me although I am now a property developer. David looks after all our buildings, will help with anything, and is the most loyal person I have ever had. David's willingness to help and go the extra mile causes many people ask me "how on earth did you find David", and beyond saying that it is a long story, I will never tell them.
David has always said that he is very lucky and that I was sent by god to help him. Whether god was involved or not I don't know but I think he has it the wrong way round - I think I am the lucky one, to have been in the position where I could help him, and now to have a loyal friend. "