New Leaf Network launches annual LLEx CJS Conference and Awards ceremony

The New Leaf Network was created through collaboration between individuals and organisations with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System, with network members sharing their vision to support both returning citizens and organisations following release from prison. The network aims to address current sector shortfalls identified including:

  • Accessible support for former prisoners
  • Collaborative working and referral routes in the CJS community
  • Person-centred support embedded into networks that feed into CJS policy
  • Business networks and opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses with leaders with lived experience, operating as a consortium

“The network is about people with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System being supported to develop personally and professionally. The idea was born from study I conducted in 2019 which identified that support is lacking for both individuals and professionals with convictions” – Marie-Claire O’Brien (CEO/Founder of The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C.)

To formally recognise its formation the New Leaf Network launched the first annual Leaders with Lived Experience (LLEx) CJS Conference and Awards ceremony for people with lived experience, specifically recognising outstanding individuals and organisations, alongside allies in the sector.

Keynote speakers for the conference included Mike Trace (CEO of The Forward Trust), who spoke about the Forward Trust and the importance the organisation places on employing people with lived experience; Mark Simms (CEO of P3 Charity), who shared his personal journey of lived experience and Sunny Dhadley (Social Leadership / TEDx Speaker), who spoke about the power of lived experience in shaping the Criminal Justice System and his own experience as a Peer Mentor.

“There’s a great deal of compassion, passion and commitment that exists and I think it’s that we need to harness” – Sunny Dhadley (Social Leadership / TEDx Speaker)

“Our belief is all about people finding their own ways, helping themselves. Our job is to help other people find their own way to change their life situation” – Mike Trace (CEO of The Forward Trust)

“Practical allyship is the key phrase that resonated with me today” – Marie-Claire O’Brien (CEO/Founder of The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C.)

Videos from the New Leaf Network Conference

Marie-Claire O’Brien (CEO, The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C.) – How we got here

Mike Trace (CEO, Forward Trust) – How Forward Trust supports people with Lived Experience

Mark Simms (CEO, P3) – A personal journey of lived experience

Gareth Evans (CJS Consultant) – The language that we use

Sameer Iqbal (NHS Liaison and Diversion) – The power of lived experience in shaping the Criminal Justice System

Sunny Dhadley (TEDX Speaker & Consultant) – Maximising the potential of lived experience

Sponsors for the Awards event included Timpson, The Forward Trust and P3 Charity, with categories for:

LLEx CJS Ally of the Year – Acting as champions for the community

LLEx CJS Employee of the Year – Going above and beyond to deliver outstanding work

LLEx CJS Entrepreneur of the Year – Changing their own lives and developing services to support others

LLEx CJS Exceptional Prisoner Award – Outstanding individuals in the community we support

LLEx CJS Innovative Employer of the Year – Organisations with innovative practices who actively recruit and support people with convictions

LLEx CJS Volunteer of the Year – Individuals who demonstrate a passion for supporting the community

Award winners and shortlisted nominees

The first event of its kind, the New Leaf Network Conference and Awards will become an annual event with the aim of shining a spotlight on the positive impact made by those with lived experience of the Criminal Justice Sector.