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  • Sussex Pathways

Newsletter | August 2022

Updated: Oct 12, 2022


From Our CEO

During the third week of August, I was invited to attend the final session of the 7-week group course. It was my pleasure to present certificates to each of the graduates.

The group is a considerable achievement that showcases our work back in the prison.

The clients were open in their conversations, some showed their vulnerabilities, and some showed how far they have come by writing an outstanding letter to the Parole Board.

The letter was articulate, to the point and showed great strength of character. The client clearly conveyed the impact that his recall and ongoing prison stay has had on him and his family.

One group member is returning to do the course again, and two will become peer mentors in future groups.

Well done to Nigel for hosting these groups and all the behind-the-scenes work that it takes to get these up and running. And thank you to Neal and Rosanna for supporting Nigel in the groups and behind the scenes.

Brilliant team effort! Now, onto the next 7-week course.

Currently, we have six projects running in Sussex Pathways:

  • Pathways to Change / Through the Gate Groups

  • Personal Wellbeing

  • Pathways to Change for Women Restorative Justice

  • Training

To learn more about our fantastic work, please visit our website or email

We look forward to hearing from you!

Shirl Tanner, CEO


PATHWAYS TO CHANGE / THROUGH THE GATE August saw our busiest month of clients being released (LB, MM, JH, DA).

One client required gate meet for support and two remain with VKWs, who continue to support them in the community. This includes one of our new VKWs, David H. David is finding his feet and is enjoying the challenges.

Sadly, not all goes to plan despite the best efforts of the VKWs, as one client has returned to prison on recall due to non-compliance with probation. This was despite the hard work and support offered by VKW George. Sometimes clients are not quite ready to make the change.

We welcome Derek C to the team of VKWs. Derek is starting his journey with SP by attending the first session of the second group course in HMP Lewes, where he will meet his client for the first time.

Several VKWs have been absent in August, which is understandable as they have had family and holiday commitments. We welcome everyone back and hope you all had a great time!

In other news:

VKW Nigel D was away for a period during august for what was thought to be a “holiday.” It turns out that he was in fact completing a charity walk through the French and Swiss Alps!

Nigel was asked if he would allow this to be included in our newsletter as it is quite an achievement. He consented and we are happy to share his accomplishment.

In Nigel’s words: "I have just completed a 14-day walk along the iconic GR5 high level path through the French/Swiss Alps for charity. We (three people did the whole distance) covered nearly 200 miles starting at Chapelle d’Abondance near Chatel and finishing in Modane near the Italian border. We climbed the equivalent of one- and three-quarter Mount Everest’s (from sea level) which is about 52,000 feet or not far off a Ben Nevis every day. With temperatures of over 30 degrees for several days and not far off freezing on the highest point reached on the Col de l’Iseran (over 9,000ft) above Val d’Isere not to mention many knee and ankle-breaking descents down some very narrow tracks and along some VERY narrow knife edge ridges it was wonderful but also a real physical test and we carried all our own gear the whole way. It was the hardest physical challenge I have ever undertaken. In fact, I lost 3.5 pounds which I can't really afford." The two charities that Nigel and his friends are raising money for are Riding for the Disabled and Power for the People.



RESTORATIVE JUSTICE Sussex Pathways volunteers are attending our RJ training on the 7th, 8th and 9th September. These dates are now fully booked.

However, there is a second RJ training course running on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 18th October, which we do currently have spaces on. If you are interested in attending, please email

We also have Sussex Pathways 3-day training in September and do have spaces available if you are interested, please get in touch via email.

We are always looking for new volunteers to help support and empower our clients through either restorative justice or volunteer key working. If you have any questions or would like to discuss either role, please do get in touch as we couldn’t do the work we do without you!

Although it has been a quieter month for RJ with the summer holidays in full swing, there is still plenty of hard work going on within Sussex Pathways.

Staff and volunteers are currently facilitating thirteen RJ cases, and at least two conferences are coming up in the next couple of months.

Whilst most of the work we do here in the prison is with Sussex cases, we also take out-of-area referrals and facilitate other RJ services from around the country linking up with harmers who are currently in HMP Lewes.

Rosanna recently received this encouraging feedback from Restorative Solutions in Hampshire, which shows the value of our support: "This has felt like a really rewarding indirect process in which the sharing has been substantial and genuine. I'm sure that your work with X before we arrived helped to pave the way, so thank you very much!" Lastly, for anyone interested, please click the following links for resources that we recommend:


GROUPS Almost three months ago, we started the planning for the resumption of the Pathways to Change group programme in HMP Lewes.

We have just completed the first programme back.

Four clients have completed the course and an additional two who have been released. It has been over two years since we have been able to run the groups in the prison and it was a very welcome return.

For the staff involved now, two had been volunteers when we had to stop due to the pandemic. There have been three VKWs who have attended some sessions and they have played a good role in creating the space and time for the men to work. It is wonderful that they have been able to support their clients.

Each week in the group we check in with the clients, we practice mindfulness exercises, and we focus on the clients, their situations, and what they want to do. It is always amazing to witness the level of sharing and honesty that is manifested.

The men all say that this is the only space in which they can be honest and can share.

There was obvious growth seen in individuals who barely spoke in the group at the beginning of the course, but who have now become articulate men.

There is often common ground within the group. Specifically, a growing issue is that some of these men who have been recalled are awaiting parole hearings for which they do not have a definite hearing date. We are supporting them through this uncertain time period.

Once again there is the issue with lack of free flow in the prison, which means we race around the different wings to collect the clients. This issue is exacerbated with the unavailability of space to facilitate the group.

We have worked well with the team in programmes and will be starting our next group on Tuesday6th September.

We have a group of seven identified, all from Sussex Block, and we also have a peer mentor from the group. A big thank you to all involved and congratulations to TW, RB, MC and MM for their course completion.


DYNAMIC FRAMEWORK Neal is currently working with twenty-one clients, seventeen are active clients and are engaging with the service.

Brandon currently is working with eleven clients, five are active and three have now graduated after completing their course with him.

Well done to those clients!


RESTORATIVE JUSTICE COUNCIL 4TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE This information was sourced and quoted from Restorative Justice Council.

Call for Abstracts This year the conference will focus on one of four areas:

  • Restorative responses to interpersonal violence

  • Restorative responses to war, organised violence and societal conflict

  • Building community resilience in troubled times

  • Restorative practice and social justice

We are particularly interested to explore how restorative approaches are being used in cases of interpersonal violence. Whether this be violence against women, hate crime specifically racialised, homophobic, transgender and xenophobic incidents, and the rise in knife crime. We ask: how can restorative practice be visualised and developed in cases of interpersonal violence?

War, conflict and premeditated acts of violence continue to dominate our news. Whether this be the uncertainty of the war in the Ukraine, the reports of war crimes inflicted on Ukrainian communities, the threat, and actual acts of violence instigated by organised gangs, the exploitation of young people through county lines crimes, acts of terrorism both home and abroad and societal conflict between communities across the United Kingdom. We ask, how are/can we respond restoratively to war, conflict and acts of violence?

We ask how can we create restorative communities? How do our institutions, including our secure estate, schools, social care providers, health services and religious communities become restorative spaces? How does a community become a space for developing strong and effective restorative relationships?

Finally, in a world where class, gender, generational, religious, race, political and social polarisation continue to leave communities divided and disconnected we want to understand how we can align restorative practice within the social justice movement. We ask, how can restorative practices contribute to developing a just society?

Abstracts can be submitted for consideration in one of the following four session types that will run during the course of the two-day conference:

  • Paper

  • Panel

  • Skills workshop

  • Poster presentation

For detailed information about the sessions, please email



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