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.