Starting a Business on the inside
These mums are in there for a reason: I don’t talk to the mums about that, I don’t need to know. My brief is to focus on what they want to do when they have served their time and want to move forward, have a new start and be a good example to their child.
Yes it’s a different environment to our usual, relaxed, comfortable and friendly venue; yes the mums aren’t initially as friendly and open to ideas as our usual group of mums; and yes sometimes it can be emotional and obviously not as easy to follow their progress.
The prison environment aside, these women are looking to better themselves – that is why they are in the training room with me looking to become self-employed if working is not an option.
Once settled and after creating a relaxed atmosphere, we discover lots of ways self-employment could be the next chapter. We discuss realistic ideas: the demand for their product or service and the support they can receive from Government and charitable agencies; without having access to social media, researching can be more difficult, but not impossible, as books and magazines are allowed along with productive, smart, conversations with other inmates and staff.
I’m always flattered that the groups say they find our training useful and inspiring. These women, regardless of the reason behind being in prison, want to improve themselves for their children, which is a positive move in the right direction in my book.
I always leave my prison training days happy – I have done a good job – but with a heavy heart knowing these women aren’t going home tonight to see their children. Often it seems, being in prison can be a reflective time, time to think about relationships, career options and small and big changes to make. Soon they will see their children and hopefully their decisions in the future will be right for them and their families.
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