A Sutton and Woking-based initiative enabling women in prison to break the cycle of reoffending, improve their parenting skills and take control of their lives, has been given £80,000 by Big Lottery Fund (BIG).
Beyond Youth CIC’s The Ripple Effect project is one of nine projects across the South East region sharing a total of almost £1.7m in grants today. This expansion of a pilot project will support women in prison to re-evaluate their parenting roles and repair relationships having been separated from their children through a custodial sentence. The client-led programme will re-teach values and boundaries based on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) framework. Upon release, women will be supported to access courses and volunteering and employment opportunities.
Emma Morris, Managing Director of Beyond Youth, said: “The whole emphasis of the programme is about respecting yourself in order to respect other people and that understanding the importance of boundaries. If you learn boundaries in yourself, you can instil boundaries in your children.
“The beauty of this project is that the content of the programme is very much dictated by the participants – the women talk about the elements of their lives that are causing them problems and through that they then get peer support. Also if we support these women to get a job when they come out, they are better placed to support their children, meaning their children are less likely to commit crime, which is breaking the cycle.
“This grant for our innovative programme working with female prisoners is quite simply the support we need to be able to continue to expand our services and reach more people in need. The funding that the Lottery has generously granted us allows us the security to be able to do what we do best which is changing lives and delivering social impact.”
Pam, 25, has turned her life around since she was sentenced to four years in prison in 2009, following a conviction for GBH with intent. Knowing acutely the difficult journey she faced, she is now training to deliver the Beyond Youth programmes she went through to other women in prison, and catching up on the education she missed when she was younger.
She said: At the time when I was sent to prison I didn’t care because my life was so bad that I felt I had nothing left to lose.When I was 13 my mum committed suicide and this is when my life went wrong. Her death left me with the responsibilities that no 13-year-old should have to cope with.My younger sister and brothers relied on me as my dad’s drinking spiralled out of control. I couldn’t concentrate at school because as well as hurting from her death I also had to keep the home going.Eventually when I felt I couldn’t cope anymore I started taking drugs, just to help with the pain and numb my feelings. Then I just made bad choice after bad choice.
“When I was in Send prison I completed loads of courses supposed to help me change.They did nothing. Then in 2011, I was offered a new course called Chance 2 Change. This course was different right from the start and I can honestly say it is the most positive thing I have done for years and years. For the first time I felt I had a chance.They teach you so much stuff and it is all about you as an individual and what you need.
“On the build up to my release I was scared and panicked about coming out and not knowing what would happen. But Beyond Youth were there for me as they promised from the minute I stepped out of the prison gates. They helped me to get training, housing, back into football which is a passion of mine and I had to give up when my mum died. Now, nearly a year since my release my life couldn’t be more different. I have my own flat and I work for Beyond Youth. I don’t feel scared or sad now because I can see I have a future.”
A full list of South East projects receiving funding today:
|Project||Beneficiary Locations||Award Amount|
|Beyond Youth CIC; The Ripple Effect||Sutton, Woking||£80,000|
|SHOC Slough Homeless; Springboard Plus||Slough||£292,898|
|Isle of Wight Law Centre Ltd; Stepping Stone||Isle of Wight||£110,981|
|The Dover Detainee Visitor Group; Detention support and awareness||Dover||£201,488|
|Home-Start Arun; Family Support in Arun||Arun, West Sussex||£300,000|
|Milton Keynes Youth Counselling and Information Service Foundation; iS counselling outreach||Milton Keynes||£191,430|
|Reigate & Redhill YMCA; Sovereign Centre Disability Hub||Reigate and Redhill in Surrey||£174,075|
|Chestnut Lane School; Parents as first teachers||Amersham, Chesham, Bois and surrounding areas||£85,228|
|Slough Refugee Support; Steps to settlement||Slough||£215, 115|