We are proud to be supporting women to take action and make positive changes in their lives and the lives of others in their communities. On International Women's Day, we are celebrating women's journeys, the challenges overcome and applauding their achievements.
Alice told us her story of how she has built a more positive future for herself and her family, with the support of Step Together.
"When I was released from prison, I was at rock bottom. Feeling completely hopeless and too afraid to leave the house, I struggled to face the world again. Step Together supported me and with their help, I was able to get my life back on track and regain my confidence.
Whilst in prison, I started volunteering at the women’s centre. It was through this, that I was introduced to Karen, Volunteer Project Manager for Step Together. She ran a group session, explaining the support Step Together provides. Towards the end of my time in prison, I had a 1:1 meeting with Karen, who then arranged to contact me again after release.
It was at this time, that I felt the lowest I had ever felt. My family expected me to carry on as normal, but I didn’t feel that I could nor could I see any way to move forward. All doors seemed closed to those with a criminal record. Within two weeks, Karen met up with me at a local café I chose and immediately began looking into opportunities for me. Karen continued her support; we met regularly, she was always there and gave me hope and encouragement when I was losing faith. With Karen’s help, I was offered a two week volunteering placement with a company in Manchester, through Business in the Community. I really enjoyed it and a couple of months later they offered me paid employment on a three month temporary contract. I was so happy!
This position has led to further temporary work with the company and I am still working there today. Being employed has meant I have my independence again and I am no longer scared to go out. Karen and I are still in touch and she is currently helping me to find volunteering opportunities supporting other women in similar situations. I found volunteering at the women’s centre very rewarding and one day I hope I can make a difference to someone’s life, the way Karen has for me. To have that continuous connection and support from inside prison to after release was invaluable. Karen has been inspirational in my recovery and I will be eternally grateful to her."