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Askham Grange Conference – 13th October

I was asked to attend the Askham Grange conference on the 13th October as an ex resident and also as a PMNW volunteer during my sentence.  It was critical that I had the opportunity to share my success story with the high profile delegates that attending from probation services to crime commissioners.  The nerves where really starting to kick in at 6am when my alarm woke me up that morning however as I arrived I was greeted with the warmest welcomes which really calmed me down.

The Prison Me No Way Team had a staff briefing before the day had begun and with a motivational speech from Paul everyone was excited by what lay ahead. As delegates arrived at Askham Grange they were greeted by Emma, Harriet and I to be signed in and given a name badge. Governor Dave Charlton started the conference with some supportive and encouraging words and also thanked prison officer Graham Holgate for his support and links between Askham and PMNW. Paul then introduced himself to everyone and explained how the Trust was set up before watching a DVD of how far the trust has come over the past 20 years.

Then it was my turn, my stomach was turning I had never stood in front of this many people before and given a speech. I told my story and how I became a volunteer for The No Way Trust through being at Askham Grange and how lucky I am to have a job that I love.  I explained how I got involved with the trust as a volunteer in custody and how I became to work for The Trust upon my release from Askham Grange. I also thought it was important to tell people what duties I had within the office and my attendance at Crime Days as well as being the new YAG Lead and developing my own workshop further.

The day continued with the guests split into two groups to watch workshops from Askham Grange/Hatfield and the Cell Van presentation. The workshops where fantastic and gave a real insight on how one mistake can change your life forever and from the feedback we have received its clear they were enjoyed by our guests too.

Lunch was beautiful and after a three course mean all cooked/prepared and served by the residents at Askham Grange everyone was full up and ready for their tour around Askham Grange. Obviously I knew already where everything was but nevertheless it was still very interesting seeing it from a work point of view and it was very different.

The whole day had been a huge success and personally I gained a lot from visiting Askham Grange again as a visitor. It has given me a great insight on how far I have come over the past year! Starting off at Askham as a resident to getting involved with PMNW as a volunteer to ending up working for The Trust I feel is an incredible achievement. It has given me that extra boost to really make my new role as the Youth Panel Leader a success and develop any ideas suggested to the best of my ability.

Nikita – Youth Panel Lead. 

Clifton really enjoyed the visit to Askham as it made him feel like a part of the team and delivering his workshop to adults put a totally different spin on things.

Clifton also enjoyed the networking part of the day especially speaking to Police & Crime Commissioners & other agencies to gain an understanding of their role & how we can work together to help youngsters.
Clifton gained an insight into the female side of prison from the girls and was made to feel a valued member of the team by everyone at the event.

Comments from Jane Carr – Prison Insight officer  

I would like to take this opportunity to express how deeply rewarding my work with Prison Me No Way has been and how life changing I feel this work has been for both me and everyone I have engaged with.  It has given me a fantastic opportunity to share my life experiences with the younger generation who I can relate to and hopefully guide them to make the right choices and awaken them to the fact that their decision making now can affect their future and how important education can be to molding their futures and the endless possibilities this can lead to.

I would also like to express how much I feel I have grown in confidence and how it has made me re-examine my own life choices so my family can grow to remember the positive work I hope to do in the future and not the negative choices I have made previously.  I would also like to thank everyone for the positive, and I believe, life changing work they are doing for the younger generation and how I feel I would have benefited had I been given the same guidance.

It is my hope that I will go on to continue to be part of the positive work Prison Me No Way does as I firmly believe that the work is both rewarding and extremely important and can affect positive change for our futures and the futures of the children we engage with.

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to everyone involved in the Trust and thank you for all the positive and life changing work you do.  I look forward to working with you all for as long as you feel I can be of benefit to a thoroughly rewarding cause.

Comments from Clifton – Resident from Hatfield 

I attended Askham Grange last Tuesday and really enjoyed the day. I was made welcome straight away by the reception staff and told where I needed to be. I was talking with numerous people about their role in the community and talking to them about PMNW. I was on the prison life and cell van workshop and found that people was really interested in the subject and interacted well with myself and Barry.  The workshop I liked the most was Graham and the Askham Grange ladies, they tell their stories how it is and at some points I felt like I was there with them at the scene. like I said I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt part of the team.

Comments from Steve Cable – Serving prison officer