If you continue this way, you will not be around in six months’ time,” a doctor informed Robi Brömel one morning in hospital. The night before, he had over dosed for the third time in quick succession on a cocktail of drugs. These days, the 22 year-old talks openly about how things spiralled out of control. “At the time, after starting my apprenticeship as a car mechanic near Freiburg, I had fallen in with people who already did drugs. They smoked joints, and I was curious, so I tried cannabis, quickly followed by speed and cocaine, and eventually ecstasy and LSD, too.”

“NEUSTART” (“NEW START”) was his last chance. The re-socialisation project with the programmatic title took him in and not only gave him a chance but also a perspective. With support from the Rittal Foundation, NEUSTART helps young people who have had a brush with the law find their way back to a useful life. The foundation has just donated 5,000 euros towards adding a café and a common room to the existing farm complex.

For 27 years, this welfare centre in Breitscheid has been somewhere for young men to go who have fallen off the rails, want to get back on track and need help starting over. It was set up by the local congregation of Free Protestants. These days, the association has around 100 volunteers who visit prisoners in the region, run sheltered accommodation for young people at risk and do a whole lot more be sides to help them change their ways and regain the faith society has lost in them.

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