I joined the New Leaf Initiative in October 2017 after my release from prison on 29 September. In prison, I have used my time to address my personal issues, qualify to IAG level four and being an active Peer Mentor. The need for help is enormous. The majority of ex-offenders released in the community fall into a big gap. The New Leaf Initiative is there to help fill that gap with not only emotional support, but also helping to understand that there is life after release, and more importantly support ex-offenders back into work.
Before my incarceration I used to work in corporations where Human Resources was always there to help employees. Unfortunately, probation services are understaffed and most of the times too busy to help the most needing. Yet, it is the same service that sends too many ex-offenders back to prison because of administrative reasons, without committing an offence.
Helping others is in my blood. To me there is no greater satisfaction than being able to see others achieve their goals and to give them a, so much needed, future. Marie-Claire and I met each other in prison during one of her motivational talks. There was an instant connection and the three times that we saw each other afterwards it just got stronger.
I have now joined the New Leaf Initiative and will besides being a Peer Mentor be heading the back-office function. There we will create work-experience places for service users interested in administration, accounting and marketing.
Once we have secured an office space we will be able to lead New Leaf into the next phase of development. We will receive more referrals from other agencies and will be able to receive service users 5 days a week in a welcome and safe environment. We will actively expand our social enterprise activities and are planning to in the near future create our training academy.
Watch this space, since in the coming months we will post regular updates and will ask for your involvement and help.