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A remarkable true story of transformation that many would say is impossible.

Tim - Lived Experience Speaker

I experienced first hand the destructive mental, emotional and physical effects from the lies and myths that drug taking, gang affiliation and criminal actives offered. This also went hand in hand with the devastating consequences permeating my family and surrounding social groups.

The dominating forces in my younger years were poverty, neglect, abuse and violence. These factors led to my teen years being overshadowed by low self esteem, violence and criminal activities, resulting in a custodial prison sentence totalling 9 years and 9 months for crimes I was convicted of, whilst just 16 years old. Upon release I spent the next 8 years involved in criminal activities including gang affiliation, criminal activity, violence and drug dealing. This culminated in a mainline heroin addiction, which at its peak, saw me injecting myself up to ten times a day. Needless to say this explosive and volatile culture, was destroying my mental health daily. In and amongst these destructive years I had fathered two children, at the age of 15 and 22, but I had little or no contact with them.

I finally broke this cycle of destruction in 1998 when i went away to rehab and started slowly rebuilding my life into what it is today.

Workshops & SessionsMy Book

What was the quantitative impact Tim has had in 2023?

  • Tim is a proficient school speaker and is a ‘Lived Experience Speaker’ with the Leeds United Football Club foundation.
  • He has spoken directly to well over 6,100 young adults in high schools across the Yorkshire region – and further afield. Holding ‘Prevention & Intervention’ workshops for the schools – focusing on the consequences of Drug use/addiction, gang affiliation and knife crime. Also specialising in workshops around a British Law called ‘Joint Enterprise’ – which many or most of our young adults are not aware of.
  • Tim has the support and backing of some of the prisons he works in to use real life stories (appropriately disguised) in the schools that he works with, backed up by photographic evidence, to show the stark reality of prison life and the devastating long term consequences.
  • He has spoken to much smaller groups in Alternative Provision schools, approximately 200 students have attended these groups this last year, where Tim has constantly demonstrated the unique ability to keep the students interested, engaged and interactive during the varied sessions.
  • Over the last year, Tim has held sessions with over 1,100 inmates across our prison estates. These prisoners range from adult Males & Females, youth offenders and serious child offenders aged 14 upwards.
  • He has also spent time with groups of year heads, SMT’s and spent a day with all the head teachers from a district in Yorkshire.

Workshops & Sessions

I offer workshops and sessions to schools, prisons or other organisations etc, uniquely tailored to the specific requirements of the audience I communicate with – all with the same intention – speaking the truth to counteract social lies that drug taking, vaping and binge drinking is ‘sick’, ‘safe’ and ‘cool.’ My aim is to reveal the truthful dangers of gang affiliation, violence and knife crime while motivating others to believe in themselves and see their true potential flourish.

Giving hope to everyone who is involved with the destructive cultures I was once slave to, is my primary focus in all my sessions and something I am tirelessly passionate about. I offer a variety of workshops based upon my own personal lived experiences and the journey into my transformed life, which is now 25 years and counting!

  • Husband, Father, Son, Friend!
  • Enhanced DBS clearance
  • CTC level security clearance
  • BTEC Level 3 Award in Education & Training
  • City & Guilds in building Construction
  • HNC in Construction Principles
  • NBHC Registered House Builder
  • Successful business owner
  • British Citizen Award – Certificate of Recognition
  • Drug & crime free for over 25yrs
  • Leeds United FC Foundation – Lived Experience Speaker
  • Schools Speaker
  • Prison Mentor/Coach/Educator
  • Prison chaplaincy volunteer – 16 years and counting
Where I Speak
  • TV (itv) & Radio (BBC)
  • High School Students
  • Alternative Provision – Students & Staff Training
  • Secure College of Learning Inmates
  • Young Offenders Institutions
  • Male & Female Prison Estates
  • Youth Groups
  • Colleges
  • Professional Sports Organisations (Football & Rugby League)
  • Private 121’s Clients
  • Charities
  • Corporate Staff Training & Development

Watch a selection of talks


Thank you so much for a fantastic event - the children really got a lot out of it. Over two days of events, we had 1 sanction out of 240 students (compared to a usual up to 100 day - this just shows how much engagement there was in the event).

Head of year 9Coop Academy

Two of our most challenging students who are regularly removed from lessons, receive detentions most days and find it hard to sit and focus throughout an entire lesson had a really successful day with no removal, no poor behaviour and fantastic engagement. This is a real testament to how engaging Tim was and how important and relevant the sessions are, particularly to our most vulnerable students. Other students who regularly abscond and hide in the building to avoid lessons stayed in sessions successfully - no truancy on the day.

TeacherDixons Academy, Bradford

Tim was absolutely brilliant. Thanks so much for putting us in contact with him.

Assistant head/head of sixth formKing David High School, Manchester

I was privileged enough to see Tim speak to students in Years 10 and 11 about his experiences. He was energetic, charismatic but most importantly hard-hitting. As a senior leader I have rarely seen an external speaker who was able to deliver a message in such an engaging manner. Students were eating out of his hand during the sessions and afterwards really considering their own behaviour - how actions have consequences. A powerful life lesson for students!

Caroline ChamberlainAssistant Vice Principal, Upper School, Trinity Academy Doncaster

I have known Tim Haigh for many years and had the privilege of watching his journey. This book is about that amazing journey and the story which has enabled Tim to reach and enhance many lives. I highly recommend Tim's book because I can highly recommend Tim.

Paul ScanlonLeadership & Communication Coach

I first met Tim in 2015 at HMP Leeds, whilst holding a discussion group with prisoners about his life experience and journey from childhood to the present day. When I heard Tim speak, I found it enthralling and captivating, his gentle, inspiring and motivational demeanour holds the audience and draws them to take note and listen intently. His injection of humour at timely points is infectious and contributes with holding the audience. Tim is a very positive, kind and empathetic individual that lives by the mantra of ‘Hope.' He instils hope and aspiration to grow, change and help others become better people, if not for ones own sake but for family. Tim is selfless in his time and commitment, when he says he will do something, he does, he is a very reliable and professional individual that I have always found to be honest, display high levels of professional integrity, is a very good communicator and listener.

David TilleyEducation Manager Novus

Tim's life story is truly inspirational. I have consistently used it to help students re-engage with eduction. Even though many had previously disengaged from it because of their social exclusion, they appreciate the raw nature of his writing and are quickly captivated by his transformational story. Over the years, Tim has engaged regularly with out students at BBEC and positively impacted them though his message of hope, perseverance, resilience and commitment to changing the direction of his life. He wonderfully demonstrates that it is never too late to take the right path. The challenges he overcame teach us all that positive change is possible if we are willing to pursue it. Tim's honesty, authenticity and good humour, enrich his writing and cause it to resonate with his readers.

Laura KilgallonAlternative Provision Manager

He engages constructively with the individuals on site, and all their feedback has been immensely positive. His lived experience provides an angle of understanding and insight allowing him to hold the room and keep engagement throughout whilst providing hope that change is achievable. Using his own experiences and the difficulties that he was met with and how he chose to overcome those issues in life provide that support and learnt experience to help others. Even after Tim had been on site, individuals, staff and men in custody, were still talking about how much they enjoyed the event and what they could take from this to improve their future. I would highly recommend Tim Haigh and look forward to continuing work with him for future events due to the successes of his first events..”

HMP Prison Employment Lead

I’ve got to say, after the sixth form students listened to your story and your session on county lines drug gangs, it was the sole topic of conversation for the last two days, the students were gripped, and I’ve heard from other staff members that they were talking about you in their lessons too. I cannot thank you enough, the comments have been extremely positive and encouraging.

Some of the students have popped up today, asking to borrow a copy of your book to read - they are genuinely interested, which is great!

Head of sixth formJohn Kyrle High School

Tim’s story is very powerful and emotive; his upbringing in a mining community resonating with the students who were eager to hear more and more of Tim’s challenging yet inspirational past. The pragmatic way in which Tim delivers his message makes the session accessible to all. The biggest compliment I can give Tim is that as a guest speaker, he was applauded by the students for his work without the usual prompt from staff. Would I welcome Tim into our school again - absolutely!

Dave StewartHead of Yr 9

Tim has an inspirational message which connects with all young people and in particular those at risk of crime and gang culture. He is a brilliant communicator and has a strong message about the power of choices in a young person's life. Every year group, from Y7 to the sixth form took something significant from his talks and I can whole-heartedly recommend him coming to your school.

Wendy AdenijiTrinity Academy Director
My life story in book form

The Leopard that changed its spots

I wrote my life story and published this book in 2016. So far over 10,000 paperback copies of the blue cover have been printed to date, and these have primarily been distributed to individuals across the national prison system. The gold cover version has been rewritten specifically for high school students.

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