But employers can’t overlook his past
to secure more employment, and believes potential employers “can’t look past his past”.
“It was the right time to do it as I also had to have knee ligament re-alignment surgery which takes six to nine months recovery too,” he added.
“I worked for seven years doing tenancy support, I received a Dunant award for helping at Grenfell, I’ve met Prince Charles, but whatever I’ve done doesn’t seem to matter.
“Henry Dunant was the founder of the British Red Cross and they don’t give the awards out to just anybody, only a handful are given out every couple of years and I was fortunate enough to receive that for helping at Grenfell, but now I’m not being given a chance and I’m just being judged on my past.
“Nobody seems to look at the fact that I’ve worked with the Red Cross. I’ve done my bit to show that I’m worthy in society.
“I want to work in care now but I’m still battling against my past. They love me in interviews but then they do background checks and can’t look past my past.
“I’ve been to interviews and people have said that everything is good but then when the background check comes they say that they can’t take a chance.
“I don’t want to give in with care because I’ve done it for the past seven years and it’s all I actually know apart from being a criminal.
“Addicts are asked to come to a place that they don’t know and they’re not familiar with and when they get there, they’re just left there and that’s why people go back [to drugs].”
Mr Chant receives employment and support allowance but, despite this, has been using local food banks to be able to feed himself.
He explained that his mental health had suffered as a result of helping at Grenfell and that the death of his step-son Brendon Holder, who took his own life last August, had been a “big loss” in his life.
Mr Holder, who was also known as Brendon Martin Rudge, posted a heartbreaking final message to his friends and family before taking his own life.
He put up a picture of himself as a baby with his mum, and wrote: “Sorry for anyone I hurt. Please don’t think I’m selfish. I wasn’t the best of sons and friend. I am sorry see you all soon . . . Sorry for who I hurt. Bye guys.”
The 24-year-old was found shortly after in the early hours of Saturday, August 4.
Mr Chant added: “I’m at my lowest at the moment and I don’t want to live some days but I don’t want to give in.
“I feel so alone but I’m still trying to remain positive.
“Brendon was the only person that I would speak to and he was always thankful that I stuck around.
“He gave me a teddy when he was 10 and I’ve always kept it. I can’t even put it into words.
“His teachers told me at his funeral that he was so proud of me and had told them about me being an addict and helping at Grenfell with the Red Cross.”
Despite feeling “at his lowest”, Mr Chant now wants to focus his life on caring for others and putting back into the community what he says he “took away as a criminal”.
“I want to give back to the community and I want to have a normal life. I just want to go to work, care for people and come home,” he said.
“I want to make people happy and do a good deed for the day and I want to put back in what I took away as a criminal.
“I do want to fight the corner for people like me because what are we supposed to do?
“With employers, it’s the fear of me doing something wrong before I’ve even done it.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking. I want to highlight how hard it is to still be judged and for exaddicts to rehabilitate. “I’ve come so far.” Drug and alcohol charity, Addaction, supports people to make a lasting change in their lives by helping to alter their behaviour to become the best they can be.
Karen Tyrell, from Addaction, said employers should be encouraged to look at employees on an individual basis.
“People who are recovering from alcohol, drug and mental health problems are some of the most determined and insightful people you could meet,” she said.
“Their life experience can bring a really helpful new perspective and they are often highly valued by employers for their dedication to what they do.
“Employers often ask candidates about criminal convictions as part of a job application.
“This puts up barriers for people with a history of substance abuse.
“Knowing about someone’s history might feel important for employers, but it’s often a false comfort.
“We’d encourage all employers to look at each employee on a case by case basis.
“We are all more than our past.”