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Flying High at Low Newton

Between Monday 9th and Friday 13th November, Our Own Stories was piloted at HMP Low Newton. The delivery team were Kate McCoy from Safe Ground and Sarah Hartley from Novus who have commissioned the programme. They were also joined by Sarah Moat, a tutor from the education department in the prison.

The team worked with nine women, nearly all who were serving very short prison sentences, many of whom had significant experience of trauma in their backgrounds. All of the women participated fully in the program and explored themes of relationships, particularly parents and children and domestic abuse, and also some contemporary topics like prevent gun ownership laws were also discussed, which was an eye-opener for all. Each woman also explored the changes that she wanted to make in her life and shared the steps she would take with the group. The group created a performance and presentation showing the learning they had achieved and this was shared with an audience of senior managers from the prison.

All of the women reported finding the programme beneficial and particularly enjoyed having their own personal journal to detail their progress and their thoughts. Key feedback included “it was lovely to realise that I am not alone”, “realising which kind of person I am”, “learnt that my mind is my own worst enemy”, “it was good to think and act out of my comfort zone”.

Before Christmas, the programme will be visiting the two open prisons in the women’s estate, East Sutton Park in Kent and Askham Grange in Yorkshire.

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