Who will the initiative help/who has it helped already?
By allowing offenders the opportunity to give something back to someone less fortunate than themselves, the whole atmosphere in the prison changed.
I went on to host further events, even taking an offender out into the community to fundraise. People we spoke to welcomed the idea that prisoners were putting something positive and meaningful back into their communities.
To date we have raised in excess on £7,000 for ten beneficiaries. These include: Leeds Children’s Charity, Help a Capital Child, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Cash for Kids , Pathways School and Make A Wish.
As Christmas approached, I established a partnership with Body Shop@home representative, Dawn Hay, so that offenders were able to send a gift direct to their families, friends and loved ones.
This has helped to maintain, rebuild and bridge ties between offenders and their families. In turn, this contributes to the rehabilitation of offenders and reduction in re-offending.
We have now created a unique personalized gift direct service, with a varied selection of gifts to suit both gender and age. Each selected gift is packaged and personalised to suit the occasion i.e. Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Eid and Christmas. For every sale made, 10% is donated by our supplier to reinvest in our pursuit of purpose.
Both services proved successful and we received letters of acknowledgement from both offenders and their families thanking us, along with letters of gratitude from all the beneficiaries.
What have you learnt? Any challenges?
Being a serving prison officer, I have faced many challenges and barriers especially with regards to conflict of interest, policies and procedures of the Ministry of Justice.
These difficulties have all learnt me to be patient, have built my resilience and increased my passion and dedication to creating what we have proved will be a successful charity.
Having trialled this aproach in seven prison establishments, we have evidenced the need of further family ties interventions.
A Little Something Back is pending charitable status with the Charity Commission. This will enable us to progress and implement our service into the prison estates.
What advice, contacts or resources would help you?
Any funding advice and contacts that would be suitable or interested in becoming an Ambassador for the charity would be great!
Why we’re sharing these stories
An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!
Do you know a woman who deserves recognition, or would you like us to feature your story? Then please share it!