Christmas

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

Apprenticeships

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!

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.

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.

John

Hello world! Now for some big news…

 

 

DSC_1506Hello there!

Thanks for stopping by at the New Leaf Initiative – we value all support from the local community, businesses and anyone else who shares our vision.  It is great to be here, unveiling our new blog whilst at the same time telling people about our big news!

So, what exactly is our vision I hear you ask; Its quite simple really.  We support offenders away from crime and into education, training and work using the power of people who have been there themselves.  Our vision is that by sharing our experiences, hope and insight we will help others to see that change is possible.  We do this by challenging negative behaviours and instilling positive ones through mentoring, Introducing work and accredited training and by using our micro-businesses to embed learning which has often started in the Criminal justice system.  Not only does this process help our mentees – it is proven through research that the benefit is felt by the mentors too, much the same way as it is for example within Alcoholics anonymous.  This furthers people from crime even more and can often be the final stage of the healing, rehabilitative  process, where shame can be wiped away and replaced with feeling of pride, achievement and self-belief, allowing people to keep moving forwards.

My hope is that my own experiences and those of our volunteers and mentees have the ability to show the local community a few things that we know to be true. For example, did you know that approximately 12 million people in the UK have a criminal record?  That 97% of people in custody would like to desist from crime?  That 68% of prisoners believe having a job would keep them out of trouble in the future?  This latest figure is backed up by data which suggests ex-offenders who find employment are 40-50% less likely to commit further offences.  So, if we know this in our Great Nation, why do we still have almost 1 in 2 prisoners reoffending within the first 12 months?  It has been clear for a while that something needs to change…

And it is starting to.  Slowly.

Michael Gove the Justice secretary, has moved away from the punitive rhetoric voiced by his predecessor, Chris Grayling and David Cameron himself delivered a speech regarding prison reform only a few weeks ago – the first in 20 years by a British prime minister.  In that speech he recognised the fact that almost half of all prisoners have mental health issues, that many have suffered abuse, trauma, violence and neglect, that many want to change, but don’t have a clue how to due to poor education and few credible role models coupled with a sometimes corrupt system and fewer staff/services/opportunites due to the cuts.  How do any of us know how we would have turned out if we had been born to a different family, or a different post code?

I have a young guy I work with, he is one of 8 children born out of a drug and drink addicted mother and father.  No-one works in the house and whilst he was in prison, his brother sold all of his clothes.  He got out of prison, determined to change his life and start some education but on release, felt unable to attend because of his personal situation of living in a hostel, having no money or family support or structure.  He fell-out with his girlfriend and it all got too much, at 22 he took an overdose at his youth hostel.  Whilst in the mental institution he realised how chaotic things had gotten and resolved to get out and get a job to work his way out of his situation.  He has found work and support through New Leaf, joined a gym, got a flat and now engages with different agencies.  One day he hopes to become a youth mentor himself.  In his words, people like him need ‘Goals, someone who will listen and care and opportunities.’  Without these things in place, he would undoubtedly keep drifting, costing the system a small fortune and leaving a trail of emotional and physical damage.

That’s what we provide – opportunities for people to grow from people who genuinely care and can relate and who are trained to get people out of their comfort zones.

Talking of which…

Our big news!

We are delighted to announce that we are through to the finals of the #PeoplesProjects, a competition run by ITV news and the Big Lottery fund which will see three out of the five shortlisted win £50,000 to make a difference in their local community.  This is an amazing opportunity for us, just out of our first year since forming in 2014.

We will be featured on ITV news at 6pm on the 3rd March or online from Monday the 29th February and we are calling out for as many votes as possible!!

If we win, we will use the money to fund a warehouse with microbusinesses within it to directly employ ex-offenders in order to raise aspirations, embed a working ethos, upskilling and raising self-esteem.  We will have a base to provide support with practical and emotional issues arising in the resettlement period from people who are level 2 trained mentors and we will contribute a percentage of profits to victim support charities.  We will then match our people with one of our employers such as Virgin trains or a local business we may be supporting through labour shortages or expansion.

IMG_2691

We find that this process is far more empowering and life-changing than any behavioural course and our results prove it with over 57% of our clients being supported into work or volunteering opportunities.

If we can provide a safe place for people to go and be busy in a positive way once they have left the criminal justice system behind them, where positive peers can be accessed for advice, far away from negative friendships closer to home;  If we can pick them up at the gate and help tackle the fact that many leave prison with no more than a £46 discharge grant which must last up to 6 weeks before any benefit payments begin by paying them for their productivity in a work environment with rules and expectations, rewarding good behaviour and incentivising more of the same, then doesn’t it make sense to do that?

Whatever your personal beliefs on crime and punishment, the current system isn’t working and so we must look to the empirical research and the countries which are reducing reoffending rates down to 25% or less as well as our own more innovative practices happening in the voluntary sector.  New leaf promises to contribute fully to the ongoing research in the field in the hope that we can truly begin to track peoples rehabilitation out into the community.

Please take the time out to vote for us and help us to focus on the potential of people rather than the pasts of people, it is there the magic happens and people manage to finally turn over a new leaf…

To vote for the NEW LEAF  INITIATIVE EMPLOYMENT PILOT, please visit WWW.PEOPLESPROJECTS.ORG.UK and follow the voting page instructions there.

Big love,

Marie-Claire