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My name is Annie

Posted: 9th December 2014 by Essex CRC.
Lesley Louis and Offender for Web
Lesley Louis and Offender for Web

“My name is Annie. My partner had been growing drugs at home. I went to court as well. I got a community order.

“Going to court and all that was pretty dreadful. I was gutted. I was also due to lose my home in four weeks’ time.  So alongside the court case, we had to try and sort out where we were going to live. We put our stuff in storage and both of us went to stay with a relative. We were grateful for family and friends’ support.

“There was one thing I hung on to. With help from Probation staff, I was going to use this time to make something better of my life. I have always been a hard worker, but got nowhere.

“My probation worker was Lesley. She has been the core of it all. Very encouraging. She gets me and I get her. She understands, and gives me great support. And around all that, there was so much help available. I had to attend The Bridge[1]. They helped me with a plan, and showed me how to write a CV and deal with issues around disclosure of convictions. They helped with looking for accommodation and jobs.

“I did an on-line course on electrical installation. It needed a lot of concentration, so I printed it out and read it on train journeys to and from The Bridge. I went from achieving a 30% pass to 87%. Very proud! Also did a legal course as well.

“I also met Louis, an Education, Training and Employment specialist in Essex CRC. I had planned to retrain properly as a domestic electrical installer but it would cost money I didn’t have. Louis put me in touch with Seetec, who prepared all the course details with me, and helped me reapply for my driving licence. When I got a job interview, the licence was really important.

“I was so excited when I got a second interview. Then when I was offered the job, I was at The Bridge at the time, and everyone there was excited for me. I had been so nervous, shaking in the interviews – in fact I’d never had a formal interview before. And there were so many applicants for the job. I was sure I wouldn’t get it.

“I now work long days – often 10 hours – but I don’t mind. I’m so grateful to Lesley, who is still seeing me on supervision. And to The Bridge, and Seetec. And Louis – he’s very proud of me.

“I’m proud of myself.”

Pictured above: Lesley Summerhayes, Offender Manager, and ETE Officer Louis Olusina in discussion with Annie (right).


[1] Essex CRC’s intensive programme for people who are in serious trouble, or haven’t been following the rules, or as an alternative solution to a short prison sentence.