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Works for Freedom

Works for Freedom

Works for Freedom supports practice that empowers, by sharing knowledge and experience.

Website URL: http://www.worksforfreedom.org

On April 2, Stephanie Covington ran a workshop in London on trauma-informed practice for staff working in women's prisons.

The workshops addressed the negative impact that trauma has on women's mental and physical health, how this can result in coming into contact with the criminal justice system (and other adverse outcomes), and how custody staff should adjust their practice to be trauma-informed.

The workshop was attended by a range of practitioners, from prison officers to health care workers, all keen to learn about and implement gender-responsive services within their area of work. This included from every women's prison in England.

Here are just some of the comments the participants made

'Highlighting the brutal treatment of women offenders saddened me but the positivity of the training inspired me to fight harder to make a difference.' – Magda Nichols, Bedfordshire Probation Trust

'Superb. Inspirational. Helped me to re-connect to why I joined the probation service and the professional Violence Against Women and Girls strategy.' – Mary Doyle, HMP New Hall and West Yorkshire Probation

'The training helped me consider how much my service addresses the histories of the women who we work with.' – Heather Wyant, Cameo Service: HMP Foston Hall

'The training was excellent, and as a serving Prison officer it reinforces everything I try to achieve with the women I work with.' – Emma Guthrie, PIPE: HMP Low Newton

'[The training] makes a daunting subject to work with more simplified and realistic. So fortunate to have attended – wish all staff working with female offenders had the opportunity to get such knowledge.' – Emma Burgin, HMP Foston Hall

'Mindful and thought-provoking, made me consider my practice methods.' – Rachel Lawson, Northumbria Probation

'Exceptional day! Essential training for everyone who works with women and girls at risk. This training needs to be available for all.' – Edwina Grosvenor, Women at Risk Coalition

We'll be carrying further feedback from this event next week.

Published in Have your say

Revolving Doors is a charity working across England to change systems and improve services for people with multiple problems, including poor mental health, who are in contact with the criminal justice system.

Their mission is to demonstrate and share evidence of effective interventions and to promote reform of public services through partnerships with political leaders, policy makers, commissioners and other experts and by involving people with direct experience of the problem in all their work.

Their three areas of work are:

  • Policy and research (where they work with policymakers in national and local government, across Whitehall and in local and regional authorities to improve responses for the revolving doors group).
  • Partnership and development (where they work with organisations and individuals across England and Wales to demonstrate solutions for the revolving doors group).
  • Service user involvement (which brings together people from different areas of the country who have experience of multiple and complex needs and have had contact with the criminal justice system to ensure that everything they do is rooted in the reality of people's experiences).
Published in User-Voices Practice

Maggs Day Centre is primarily for the homeless of Worcestershire.

It is a welcoming, safe haven for those whom are roofless to take care of their personal hygiene needs, have a substantial meal, get advice, social interaction from others in the same position or to just sit and have a warm drink in safety. Also welcome at Maggs are those who feel socially isolated, for whatever reason they may feel unable to go to somewhere socially and meet people. They are made welcome and are able to have a meal at the centre.

Services include:

Maggs Day Centre: - a direct access Day Centre offering food, shelter, support, washing/shower and laundry facilities.

The Activity Centre – The Centre runs skills training to help people manage their lives better. This includes reading, writing, cooking and art, together with the social skills necessary to reintegrate back into society.

Maggs Clothing Project - providing free clothes, bedding and domestic items to those in need or in hardship across the city.

The staff are on hand to assist with form filling, sign posting to other agencies or health professional, or to simply take time to make someone feel included. 

Published in Housing Practice

Borderline Books is a charity which collects over stocked, unwanted and damaged books so that they can distribute them to vulnerable or disadvantaged people within the UK who might not otherwise have access to reading material.

They distribute (and repair where necessary) these books to many charities, refuges, primary schools and prisons. They have partnered with Youth Offending Teams to help with sorting the books, and eventually hope to support people leaving prison to run their own BookSpace. Running a BookSpace could offer people a much needed work rhythm while offering the opportunity to gain office skills, shop skills, stock keeping, outreach to local organisations, interpersonal skills and more. Borderline Books suggest that a BookSpace can also be easily combined with a venue for literacy practice, English classes, creative writing or whatever else the people running it may wish to do.

Tagged under

The Griffins Society is an independent charity working for the care and resettlement of women in prison and in the community.

They aim to promote effective practice for women in the criminal justice system through:

1. Funding practitioner-led research via their Research Fellowship Programme
2. Coordinating and disseminating information about research and services for women in the criminal justice system
3. Initiating service development projects to stimulate implementation, in the criminal justice system, of the recommendations arising from Griffins Society Research Fellowship reports.

They are dedicated to sharing and promoting information and ideas that contribute to a better criminal justice system for women, and do so through their extensive database on their website.

Published in User-Voices Practice

Soaps & Stories is a social enterprise initiative for women who have been sanctioned by the criminal justice system. Using simple, artisan techniques and high quality ingredients, women are taught how to design, make and sell soaps, learning every aspect of business skills and gaining valuable work experience as they go. Soaps & Stories training programme includes classes in nutrition, health and communication skills and this unique opportunity allows women to earn money and increase their employability skills within a structured and supportive environment.

Soaps & Stories begins with a part time three-week training programme (adapted to meet childcare needs) that incorporate business and life skills. Training modules include communication techniques, motivation, goal setting and basic financial management. Once the women have finished the training they will move onto the second 'selling' phase of the programme where they sell their products at farmers markets and through local buyers. In this phase women receive weekly support which includes business and marketing skills, as well as one to one coaching. 

'We intend for this enterprise to not only make a significant difference in the lives of the women we work with, but also to change perceptions in the local community. Customers will know that by investing in this soap they are investing in an individual to make a better future for themselves.'

Bike Back Bristol is an innovative bicycle refurbishment project run by Life Cycle, in partnership with HMP Bristol and funded by The Big Lottery Fund.

Life Cycle takes donations of unwanted bicycles from the public and takes them to Bristol Prison, where with the help of prisoners they strip down, clean and refit the bikes to give  them a new lease of life. Experienced mechanics work with prisoners teaching them mechanical skills and helping them to refurbish bikes to a high standard.

Once fixed the bikes are sold at affordable prices with the intention of helping Bristolians on lower incomes to get a bike and start cycling.

I was really impressed by the work of Life Cycle UK at HMP Bristol. Sometimes we're quick to judge people in prison, but for some, they've not coped with the cards they've been dealt with. The inmates I met were keen to have a positive impact on society when they were released, they were working hard and seem to welcome the chance of learning a new skill - which is exactly what they were doing at the Life Cycle workshop. I have no doubt that Life Cycle UK will continue to change the lives of many, for the better.

Gethin Jones, BBC

The Domestic Violence Intervention Project has services across London to stop the cycle of domestic violence and reduce the harm it causes to women, children. and families.

They run services for both women who have been a victim of domestic abuse and any men who have been violent to their partner. Their family support services include:

  • supervised contact between parents and children who do not live with them
  • therapy for children who have been affected by domestic violence
  • The Parenting Information Programme, for parents who have separated
  • support for parents of adolescents. 

They also have a specialised service for young people which offers confidential support for those young people who believe that their behaviours are hurting the people they care about. 

Published in Relationships Practice
Tagged under

Lifeline

(06/05/14)

Lifeline is a registered Charity with forty years experience of managing drug and alcohol services. Lifeline currently provides a diverse range of services including recovery and peer mentoring, harm minimization, day programmes, prescribing and shared care, community detoxification services, criminal justice and prison initiatives, family work and services for young people. Their services are spread across Yorkshire, the North East, the North West, London and the Midlands, working within diverse towns, cities and villages.

Currently delivering around 75 services or contracts, they support a workforce of 692 staff, over 250 volunteers, and increasing numbers of peer mentors. They works closely with communities and localities, and produce educative and digital material designed to encourage access to help. They also work towards educating professionals in allied sectors and the general public on substance misuse.

 

Published in Health Practice

St Petrock's

(01/05/14)

St Petrock's is an Exeter-based charity helping people who are homeless, or vulnerably housed, lead more settled and fulfilling lives through their resource centre that provides Advice and Support, Housing and Support and Health and Crisis Services. Their aim is to improve quality of life, improve health, independent living skills and providing access to training and employment. St Petrock's believe that providing fast, accessible and responsive services is key to helping people off the streets, out of homelessness and into more stable lives.

They have a team that take on a wide range of projects and responsibilities. This includes work at HMP Exeter providing a Prison Resettlement service; their PORCH (Prolific Offender Resettlement in Co-Ordinated Housing) project based at Probation Service and a Rent and Support service that runs from the Centre. 

Published in Housing Practice
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