Novus in Custody Life-Changing Experience for 'Vicki'

The current situation in which 'Vicki' finds herself is in stark contrast to the one in which she found herself upon her arrival at HMP Low Newton. Still riddled with guilt over the loss of her children, she had lost her self-esteem and physically appeared gaunt, older than her years.

Vicki took part in several programmes through the Offender Management Unit to address her addiction to alcohol, and participated in Level 1 & 2 Adult Literacy and Numeracy, Level 1 ITQ and Level 1 Hairdressing with Novus.

A transfer to HMP/YOI Askham Grange followed, as she was eligible for open conditions and was not regarded as a threat to society. Prison and Novus staff set about helping Vicki improve her self-worth and rediscover her confidence. She started to take more interest in her appearance, underwent dentistry work and paid attention to her hair and nails. She expressed a determination to leave behind her old life and fully engage with the educational opportunities offered by Novus.

The next two years would prove to be thoroughly cathartic. She studied Level 2 Hairdressing, Level 2 Nail Technology, Level 2 ITQ, Level 1 & 2 Business Admin, Level 1 & 2 Customer Service and Level 1 Employability Skills. She also attended Alcoholics Anonymous and became a stronger, more resilient person.

The Story

The strong, confident person Vicki is today, managing a nail salon and brimming with pride, has come an extraordinarily long way. She had come so far but was determined to challenge herself further in order to make her children proud, so she embarked on an Open University distance learning degree course.

As soon as she was eligible for ROTL (Release on Temporary Licence) she attended a centre for the homeless, one day a week for three months, carrying out voluntary community work. She also secured a work placement at a hair salon. Vicki was successful at her parole hearing, but was anxious about how she would cope upon release without the ‘safety net’ of her Novus tutors. Staff reassured her that she was ready, and encouraged her to draw strength from her remarkable progress.

Vicki’s involvement with Novus changed her life. She was equipped with the personal skills, training and qualifications she needed to thrive in a career that she loves.

Business Admin Tutor Carole Smith

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