Re: work with vulnerable and disadvantaged women at the Crypt

We are very grateful to Lynda Ojiakor, Trainer at Women of Faith Today for the inspiring workshops held at the Crypt.

The initial 3 sessions covered mind management, the power of choice and goal setting, with a follow up session which allowed us to develop the theme of “Dare to Dream” in more depth.
This targeted group of particularly vulnerable women is usually difficult to engage but from the outset they were interested and willing to participate – largely due to the enthusiasm of Lynda who led the sessions.

Service users reported overwhelmingly positive outcomes- including improved confidence and self- esteem, a willingness to “Give things a go!”, determination to explore further opportunities such as volunteering or further study, and to tackle their difficulties of addiction and being in negative relationships.

Following on from the workshops one service user trained and is now working on a part time basis as a therapist and several other participants have taken up volunteering opportunities. One service user has overcome her anxiety to become an active participant in a choir and another has undertaken CBT which has enabled her to retain her employment (She is now undertaking Level 2 training in the Principles of Team Leading.) Another participant who had been unemployed for a while is successfully working part time in a local café.

The workshops enabled staff at the Crypt to gain insight into the lives of our service users that we would not otherwise have had. By undertaking the workshops myself I was able to draw on our common experiences and encourage the participants in developing their self- belief. This is reflected not only in the notable results quoted earlier but in changes in attitude as the women involved became more positive about their futures.

Kim Parkinson
Training and Engagement/Housekeeping

St George’s Crypt
I have worked for the Probation Service for nearly 17 years and in this time I have dealt with many partnership agencies with varying degrees of success. I have consistently been impressed, and indeed inspired by the changes the LVC programme has made to the lives of our female service users.

They are flexible as to where they meet our service users and the difference they make to these women’s lives, whom have often had very hard times indeed, is immeasurable. Every individual I have sent to them has seen increased levels of confidence, thus empowering these women to make positive changes in their lives-such as addressing mental health problems or substance misuse issues. In addition to the “talking work”, the LVC programme has offered my Service Users practical support such as referring them to Christians Against Poverty.

Every female I have referred to the LVC programme has only good things to say about it. They report a safe and open environment for discussion, without judgment nor prejudice.

In spite of us living in modern times, it is my view that there are still few avenues of support, nor understanding for the specific needs of female offenders and the LVC programme is invaluable in this field.

Louise Jarvis, Case Manager, Interserve (Justice)
The Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company Ltd

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