Dez is the CEO and Founder of Spark2Life, a ‘faith based but not faith biased’ charity winning a National Youth Justice Award within its first year (2007) for – ‘Outstanding contribution in tackling youth crime’. Dez has also been awarded 2 Borough Commander Commendations for support to the community in tackling youth crime.
Dez is a reformed offender with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System – Dez was incarcerated, sadly for a violent offence in 1990-93. Dez is now a qualified Person-Centred Therapist, and up until 2020 served for 16 years as an Ordained Minister. He is a gifted communicator and regularly delivers training and bespoke sessions at conferences, events and in prisons in the UK. In 2005 Dez Published a book called 'Convicted or Condemned’ which depicts his story and is available to buy.
Dez was a Commission member for The Archbishop of Canterbury & York’s Commission on Families and Households and currently sits on the Clinks ‘Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Board’ that advises HMPPS on reducing reoffending and tackling issues around disproportionality.
In previous years, Dez worked as a sessional Chaplain in HMP ISIS and volunteered for a year at HMP Pentonville as a Counsellor. During his training as a Therapist, Dez wrote an AQA accredited mentoring course that seeks to address desistance for people in contact with the CJS with a specialist lens on how to support those from black and racially minoritised communities. The course is appraised by the Youth Justice Board as "Effective Practice" alongside Spark2Life’s Group and 1:1 mentoring programmes.
Dez also leads culturally competent training on ACEs and delivers our Trauma Awareness Training to Professionals and for parents, business owners, faith leaders & adult members of the community who want to improve their relationships and interactions with young people in the community.
Dez leads the Spark2Life Team which is made up of people from diverse backgrounds - each with unique life experiences. He encourages and provides opportunities of employment for those who have been involved in criminal activity with lived experience of the CJS.