Quote of the Week

“Obstacles, when viewed in a positive light, are simply stepping-stones on the journey to success. When you think of famous people who could have been stopped in their tracks, there are many examples. But one that always stands out for me is Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb; obstacles became the vehicle to keep trying. He once said, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

~ Byron Pulsifer

Quote of the Week

Our first task then, in living with ourselves, is to be ourselves, to be genuine and sincere, to go forth to others as persons we truly are without shame or pretence.

~ Wilfred Peterson


Christmas Time is a time for reflection, a time to share with friends and family.

Some of our service users will spend Christmas in prison, shared homes or probation approved premises. Others might be alone and It is for that reason that our assistance will still be available during this sometimes-difficult period.  Besides our own peer mentors, you can reach out to:

  • Samaritans: dial 116 123
  • NHS: dial 111
  • A&E: you can go to A&E directly if you need immediate help and are worried about your safety

For the New Leaf Initiative, 2017 has been a successful year.
In 2017, New Leaf volunteers supported hundreds of prisoners in custody and over 60 people in the community to change their lives in some way – through counselling, training, motivational work, mentoring, clothing, funding, benefits and housing support and of course, employment and numerous job interviews.

In October, we took on a new member of staff, John who has supported New Leaf in every way imaginable from developing our back-office provision, to being an incredible mentor working 1-2-1 with our service users to support change in any way possible.  John has taken to New Leaf like a fish to water and will continue his amazing work alongside our other awe-inspiring volunteers, Steve, Dave, Zoe and Marie-Claire to name a few…

In December, we moved into our new office, 8 Allcock Street, Birmingham, enabling us to see service users 5 days a week in a safe, warm and inclusive environment, as well as at our weekly drop-in at SIFA Fireside Homeless charity where we continue to support their service users with convictions.

For New Leaf, the future is bright, and the same is true for you, regardless of your convictions, if you can develop the right attitude, the right state of mind, and are able to commit to working with one of our experienced peer mentors; we will do our utmost to empower you to decide your own destiny and what is right for your future.

Our mentors are fully qualified, and all have personal experience of overcoming the barriers to re-joining society – of turning pain into progression and personal power.  New Leaf is our team of volunteers.  Here are some words from a former service user:

 “Without your support, I don’t know where I’d be right now […] I’ve turned my back on a life of violence & crime,
I’ve even kicked anxiety and depression into touch, and live a wonderful life with my family,
working a legitimate job which I never thought would happen.
None of this would of been possible without your desire to help someone that you never even knew”

Please stay in touch with us, and continue to read our announcements through our social media platforms, we have lots planned so 2018 will be an exciting year, that we already know!

The New Leaf team wishes all Service Users, partners and referral agencies a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and successful 2018.

 The New Leaf Team

Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

New Leaf has a new office

Dear all,

From Monday the 11th of December on, we will be in our new office in Digbeth, Birmingham.

The address is 8 Allcock Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4DY, which is the same street as in which Sifa Fireside is located.

As soon as our landline is installed, we will also publish this.
In the meantime, do not hesitate to call Marie-Claire or John on the numbers mentioned in the top of this page.

We will continue to have our weekly Drop in at our partner, Sifa Fireside.
More information about this, you can find on the events page of this website.

The office will offer the opportunity to see us pretty much 5 days a week in a safe and warm environment.

It is important though, to avoid disappointment, to let us know that you are coming.
Text, email, Skype, WhatsApp, are all ways in which you, as service user, can reach us.

In the meantime, join our mailing list, and be always up to date with New Leaf’s initiatives and progress.

Entrance of 8 Allcock Street

Number 8


An Apprenticeship is often a great way to get back into the labour market.

It gives your possible new employer the opportunity to see you working, and it will help you with your self-confidence.

The Government has refreshed it’s initiative (click on picture), but also New Leaf always has the latest information from our partner college BMet.

Our Drop-ins are a perfect place to discuss your options, and we are more than willing to help you out with the administrative procedure.
Through our partner Suited for Success we can help you with your interview outfit.
All you need is the right state of mind and willingness.

Come to our weekly Drop-in at Sifa Fireside and discover what New Leaf can mean for you!

That is why I volunteer for New Leaf

Today one of our Service Users had his first day with his new employer.
His journey started on the 11th of October, when he had his first interview. Moments before the interview we would whisper some tips in his ears, and 20 minutes later he came out with a big smile.
The interview, he felt, went very good.

It was the Monday after that Marie-Claire got the news.
He passed the initial interview and would receive an invitation for training.

That day was today.

We feel privileged to be part of that journey.

On Friday, it will be 8 weeks ago that I went through the big gate at HMP Featherstone.
And no, I did not and will not look back.
The New Leaf Initiative is giving me the opportunity where I have longed for.
Was it easy after my release, no, it is not.

Where my interaction with members of the public was very good, it is the official bodies that disappointed me so far.
At probation they could not find my details; during the first 5 weeks I got to see a new person every time. Now I have met my probation manager.
In my case it is a CRC, and whilst I am very patient, sometimes I cannot understand it.

Opening a bank account, hmmm, the application process is smooth, but then there is the silence, followed by an apology.
My credit report had grown substantially, not the score, that went the wrong way around.
But rather than letting it get to me, I took the challenge on, and called all the agencies who had made inquiries.
The results were fantastic, just by being honest, I was able to agree to either delayed payment, or to a payment plan.

This is now exactly where New Leaf can give you the listening ear, and guide you.

You don’t have to explain the how and the why in detail, but we will ask you a question or two about your reasons for committing an offence in the first place.
This is part of our intake, and only because it will help us to understand how we can support you.

It is our experience that makes us unique.

We have been there!

We are not an unknown person on the phone, and for us, you’re not a number, or just a last name.
You are a person who made a mistake.

Yes, your patience can be stretched, because after all also we cannot do miracles.
But we are there every step. We do not give you an IEP when you are upset, we do not run away, we do not send you away when you are in a bad mood.
With us, you are always in charge, empowerment is extremely important.

You are no longer is prison, where your life is determined by staff or trouble on a wing.
You are a Service User of the New Leaf Initiative.

It is not for nothing that our mission is to 100% empower you if you wish to turn over a new leaf.

Once a week we have our drop-in, open to all with a criminal past.
Do not be shy, you can reach us by email, phone, text or Skype.
Do not make the mistake of not asking the question.

It took me 50 years to deal with my past, do not wait that long.


Richard Branson’s weakness

On Twitter I found a tip for every entrepreneur. But in fact this is not just valid for entrepreneurs.

    This is valid for all of us.

The below is taken from Richard’s own blog.

We all have to recognise that we all have weaknesses. I know I do. But I’m never willing to let them defeat me, or get me down. I have always sought to turn my disadvantages into advantages. For example, my dyslexia taught me to think differently, and solve problems in a unique way.

W is for Weakness

“I became a really good delegator early in life, and learned to find and work with people whose strengths balance my weaknesses.

By surrounding myself with fantastic people, who are brilliant in the areas where I struggle, we’ve managed to grow Virgin into the global group of businesses that it is today.

So instead of covering up your weaknesses and trying to sweep them under the rug, acknowledge them and start thinking about ways that you can use them to really benefit you.

What are you weaknesses? How do you address them?

Are you an experienced Woo Commerce developer?

Please come forward and volunteer a couple hours for New Leaf to perfectionise our Word Press shop.

The shop is up, but we have quite some trouble with the sizing of the images, and a general look at our Word Press environment would help us enormously.

You will be invited to Birmingham, and your travel expenses will be paid.

If you can please send an email to info@newleafcic.org, giving us a short description of your experience, we will contact you very soon after.

Thank you,
The New leaf team

The first £10 donation is there!

From today, New Leaf has partnered with PayPal to let you donate to the New Leaf Initiative.

It took less than 12 hours to have £10,- in.
Spread the word, and help us to help others.

Every donation, no amount is too small, will help New Leaf to reach its goal to help re-offenders have a second chance.

A special mention to the first donator.
Huisbrouwerij Klein Duimpje in Hillegom, the Netherland, is a traditional micro brewery that started with brewing beer at home.
Nowadays Erik Bouman and his staff have a brewery which is not large enough to take on Heineken, but honestly the beer is better.

Click on the logo to see their website, and whilst in Dutch, the pictures are extremely clear and powerful.

Write an email to their info account, and Erik will tell you where to get the beer in the UK.

Contact New Leaf by Skype

Dear all,

From now on the New Leaf team can also be contacted by Skype.
In the footer of every page of the website, you can now see the Skype ‘Call me!’ and ‘Chat with me’ buttons.
Just click on these, and your personal Skype login will immediately connect you to New Leaf.

We endeavour to be there at least during office hours, but just give it a try.

BMet College Open Events November 2017

Find out about BMet’s fantastic facilities, choose from hundreds of courses including a wide range of A Levels, apprenticeships and vocational areas covering art and design, sport, construction, built environment, travel & tourism, health & social care, uniformed public services as well as dental, medical, podiatry, music, performance arts, animal care and horticulture plus loads more. You will have the opportunity to apply, be interviewed and receive an offer on the day.

Click here to register to one of the events. If necessary we can help you choosing.

Alcohol Awareness Week

How much do you know about alcohol? There’s more to find out.

Harmful drinking is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.

Alcohol is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion annually.

An estimated 595,000 adults in England are alcohol dependent and in need of specialist treatment. However the number receiving treatment is closer to just 100,000

50%of violent crime can be attributed to alcohol.

167,000 working years are lost in England yearly because of alcohol.

While overall levels of consumption are falling, around 2.5 million people in the UK drink more than 14 units on their heaviest-drinking days.

Around 220,000 children in England live with an alcohol-dependent adult.

Alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions including liver disease, heart disease, some cancers and depression.

In 2015 there were 8,758 deaths related to alcohol in the UK.

Click on logo to see the official website.

DWP actively promoting ex-offenders

This morning we received a tweet on Twitter promoting ex-offenders by the DWP.

Isn’t it time that Ban-the-Box becomes mandatory, and that employers not complying should be put onto a black list?

New Leaf is the leading organisation in the West Midlands helping ex-offenders getting back into employment.

Let your organisation follow the example of many and join employing ex-offenders.

Click the link for more information on the DWP website.

A new name

Hello all,

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.


Prison Industries

In HMP Featherstone, New Leaf has an active workshop where prisoners are creating pieces of furniture and other items.

This is an important mechanism we use to engage prisoners’ pre-release to prepare them for life and work on the outside.

We provide through-the-gate support to provide the best chance of positive resettlement, allowing the people we work with to access our networks and opportunities.

Some Examples

Or with text

And this can be the result:

If you’re interested in one of the pieces, please contact us.