February Newsletter 2021
Welcome to our 11th edition. Here you will find a round-up of our month, including key updates on our work, feedback from people that we work with, and what to expect in the coming months.
Here we are with spring just around the corner and Sussex Pathways staff are busier than ever with new referrals, which are coming in from not just Lewes, but far and wide Prisons and Probations so a huge well done to all staff and Volunteers.
· We are slowly filtering back into HMP Lewes, but with the COVID-19 situation it will still be a long while until things get back to some sort of normality for working within the Prison.
· But this doesn’t stop the dream team doing our core work, if anything it has shown everyone how adaptable and resilient Sussex Pathways are.
Some interesting reading
· Unlock launches call for evidence on pardons for historic gay convictions In 2012, the government created 'disregards', which allow gay and bisexual men convicted under historic homophobic laws to have their conviction removed from their criminal record. Following this, the government created 'pardons' in 2017, which represent more of an apology from the state. However, only 483 people have successfully applied for a disregard, and even fewer for a pardon. Unlock believes that strict eligibility criteria and a need to actively apply has limited the success of these initiatives, and tens of thousands of men continue to have these convictions on their record as a result. Unlock wants to hear from men who were prosecuted under these laws but have not yet applied for a disregard or pardon.
· Restorative Justice is still going forward with cases, and we are very much looking forward to lockdown easing so that we can take the ongoing cases forward.
· We have just completed another 4-day RJ training course online, which had incredible participants again including staff from Hellingly.
Have you checked out the new website yet, well done to Karren for all her hard work on this, it has been really well received and talked about and has brought in new funding for our Pathways to Change project.
· Our lovely Rosanna has also been a busy bee planning your next VSN, which will be on the 6th April at 2pm to 4pm and the focus will be on Easter, so watch out for the Easter Bunny dropping off some tasty Easter eggs, there will be an Easter quiz on the day, along with who can make/wear the prettiest Easter bonnet on the day let’s get creative
· Then add the Summer BBQ to your diaries on the 13th July 2pm to 4pm, you never know we maybe able to do this one live!
· Watch out for more dates for more fun and games with the Team.
News & Media
· We would like to say a huge thank you to all our funders for their support which makes us stronger and enables us to reach more clients and do what we do best.
· A massive Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who contributed towards the Christmas Gift Bags for our clients. Each of the clients we were working with over the Christmas period received a Christmas gift bag containing some goodies and day to day practical items which went down a treat and were gratefully received. This small gesture went a long way and I am sure made a difference to the clients. We have never done this before, but with it being so well received it would be wonderful to do this again.
Pathway to Sussex Pathways
The better we know and understand each other, the better we can work as a team. Each month our newsletter will profile a different member of the team at Sussex Pathways, spanning staff, trustees and volunteers.
In our hot seat for February is our very own lovely Amanda Hamblin
Writing this has made me realise how many sliding doors moments I’ve had!
I was brought up in Buckinghamshire and at the age of twelve had to choose between ballet school and grammar school. The latter won. I then uniquely (because it’s usually the other way round) got into Oxford University having failed to get into Bristol! There I read English, did some acting, and met my husband.
I went to London and had to choose between publishing and the BBC. Publishing won and I worked on the general list, beginning to do some commissioning when I had the first of my three sons. Between sons one and two I was offered my dream job in publishing but – choices again – opted for motherhood. Deeply unfashionable now!
Bored at home I went back to my love of dance, and became an exercise teacher – aerobics and body-conditioning in those days. Since the children were older I have focussed on voluntary work. This has included, among other charities, The Princes Trust and the NSPCC. A chance encounter led me to become the only volunteer delivering the Thinking Skills course in prison. This was probably the most fulfilling work I have ever done, but after a while it was no longer running locally so I joined the IMB at HMP Lewes and in thirteen years learned a lot about prisons and their inhabitants. I wanted to do Restorative Justice work for some years, but it was only when I heard that Sussex Pathways was training volunteers that I got the opportunity to take it up. It can be frustrating when you can’t get both the harmed and the harmer interested in engaging, but incredibly rewarding when you see it make a big difference to people’s lives. RJ was rightly set up to benefit victims, but I am always interested in how it can impact positively on the offender.
In 2006 I was lucky enough to be High Sheriff of East Sussex. (There was a lot of pressure on the Shrievalty to become more diverse, and I think a state-educated female was the best Sussex could do!). The office dates back to Saxon times, and brings one into close contact with the Police and the Courts, as well as civic and public life. I put my focus on the disadvantaged people in the county. This led to me becoming a Deputy Lieutenant. There are over thirty of us and we help the Lord Lieutenant in his duties across the county and his support of voluntary work. It is a huge privilege.
Rather a weird and varied life, when I think about it! And I’m still married to the man I met fifty years ago in our first week at university, and over the years we can add to the three sons four grandchildren and countless rescued animals. Such a joy.
· A huge welcome to our new volunteers including our new students and the time, commitment and enthusiasm they bring to Sussex Pathways.
Stay safe from all at Sussex Pathways.
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