What we've been up to this month:

We love a nice success story, so here’s one from Ryan, a former prisoner-editor:

When I was a prisoner at HMP Channings Wood I spent about 10 months of my sentence working for Storybook Dads. Without this work, prison would have been much harder to survive. The staff are amazing and welcoming. They don't judge people for the reasons they are there, they genuinely just want to help prisoners and their families.

Although I had already had experience in computers, I didn’t have much in audio/video editing. However, I picked it up very quickly due to the great training and support of both Storybook Dads staff and other editors. It didn’t feel like the usual prison environment – it was like a normal workplace. I enjoyed being a member of a team again

I was quickly promoted the orderly which meant training new editors and generally helping and supporting other members of the team, including the Storybook Dads staff!

Before going to prison I had a history of alcohol abuse and self-harm, but going inside I realised I’d hit rock bottom. I had to turn my life around.
 
I gave up smoking, drinking, drugs and medication and went cold turkey. It impacted my mental health for a few months so I started going to the gym which helped massively! I discovered new coping techniques such as mindfulness and meditation. All this helps to keep me on track and deal with stress and emotions. Storybook Dads staff were amazing – giving me support or time off when needed. They could always tell if I was having a bad day or going through something and asked if I wanted to talk.

I completed a Level 2 course in Radio Production, which Storybook Dads allowed time for. I also applied for a scholarship to go to University with the Longford Trust. Storybook Dads provided me with glowing references which has helped my application greatly. I initially asked for funding for just Access course…but they came back and said they'll pay for the full degree!

Just before my release in July, Storybook Dads offered me work on the outside as a home editor. They provided me with a laptop and all the resources needed to do the job. I've now been working for them for 4 months. I also got another job as a Warehouse Manager at Plymouth Foodbank - which they provided a reference for.

I joined a gym within a week of getting out and am getting fitter and stronger both physically and mentally than ever before. I ran the Plymouth 5K and raised over £150 for Macmillan.

I also did a fundraiser on Facebook for Storybook Dads as a thank you for their support and faith in me.