At 44 years old, on his third prison sentence, John recognised that he hadn’t had the best start in life and felt he had missed his chance to make anything of himself. He had only been to primary school, which he didn’t like and where he needed more help with his learning than any of his teachers could give. He left school at eleven to work with his father as a builder.

When he met Jackie in Doncaster Prison, he told her his story and chose to start with a course of personal and social development (PSD). This included learning to understand his own learning difficulties and to recognise his streanthgs, body-language, healthy eating, social skills, relaxation in the multi-sensory room and familiarisation with a computer, which he had never used before. Jackie taught him to use mind-maps to help him set out his goals or to understand new concepts. At the end of this programme, he made his first attempts at writing.

“I struggled coming into prison with filling in forms
and answering questions. Then I met Jackie and
she’s helped me a hell of a lot.”

John has worked extremely hard to develop his speaking, reading and writing skills and has often asked for extra homework to boost his progress. Whilst improving his own levels of literacy, John now works as a peer-mentor with newly enrolled students in our project and gives them great support. He is now being trained by Jackie to become one of our first Learning Coaches and gaining enormously in confidence and self-esteem. He excels at helping others to do the same. For example, John has recently helped a new, younger prisoner on his first sentence to adjust to life inside and cope with his fears.

John has gone from being frustrated at his failures, to taking pride in his achievements and in sharing what he has learned with other newcomers. He is enthusiastic about what he will achieve next and his new future in the family business, where he will at last be able to take on the paperwork with confidence.

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