Elizabeth Fry host National Prison Radio Takeover
Elizabeth Fry host National Prison Radio Takeover

In the programme, some of the women talk about their experiences of the hostel and how it has helped them to move on. There are some very touching personal accounts, particularly Sarah who bares her soul when it comes to her experience of Substance Misuse and the support the drug worker Juliette and local groups are giving her. For her every day is a battle and just being 3 days clean is a major achievement. She has been here 8 weeks, which is longer than she has lasted outside before. Carlene is very frank about not wanting to originally come to the hostel after a long time inside but she survived the curfews and appreciated the extra support which has allowed her to move on to a flat in Reading where she has been for the past 4 weeks and came back to do the show.

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Old Bailey Event - Celebrating 200 years of the work of Elizabeth Fry.
Old Bailey Event - Celebrating 200 years of the work of Elizabeth Fry.

2017 marks 200 years since Elizabeth Fry established the Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners and along with a group of 12 other women lobbied authorities including parliament. In the 1820s she inspected prison conditions, advocated reform and established further groups to campaign for reform. In 1823 prison reform legislation was finally introduced in Parliament. Staff, Trustees and HH Judge Zoe Smith, a Patron of Elizabeth Fry Charity were delighted to be invited by The Sheriffs of the City of London to attend an Elizabeth Fry Reception in May. The event was held in the beautiful Grand Hall of the Old Bailey which was formerly Newgate Prison. It was very apt that there is a statue of Elizabeth Fry in the Grand Hall and we were able to position ourselves near this for the evening and provide information to others that attended about the work that continues in her name through the Charity.

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Elizabeth Fry Tree Dedication Event at the National Arboretum 25 May 2017
Elizabeth Fry Tree Dedication Event at the National Arboretum 25 May 2017

On a glorious Spring day in Staffordshire, a tree was dedicated to Elizabeth Fry, the woman after whom our Charity is named. On behalf of the Elizabeth Fry Charity, Tony Rolley, Trustee, attended and contributed to the various readings that took place to support the occasion. The tree, a Scots Pine, and accompanying plaque, are located within the Quaker memorial in a quiet wood on the outer periphery of the arboretum. A beautiful spot!

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Meet Thembie - Housing and Link Worker
Meet Thembie - Housing and Link Worker

I joined Elizabeth Fry Charity as a Resettlement and Support Officer (RSO) in March 2015. The role involved providing day to day to support to residents at the Approved Premises, monitoring behaviour to ensure licence conditions are complied with and sharing information with colleagues and partner agencies. When a vacancy arose in the Housing and Link Worker role I was keen to apply for this position and delighted to be offered the post. I was aware, through my work as an RSO that there are a number of obstacles facing women at the Approved Premises who are seeking accommodation to move on to. I was also aware of the impact that a lack of stable or suitable accommodation can have on re-offending rates and saw the role as a chance to support women to access suitable accommodation and make the appropriate links so that there is a package of support in place when they leave Elizabeth Fry.

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Introducing Olaf
Introducing Olaf

Olaf, a registered Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog has been making regular visits to the Approved Premises since the beginning of the summer.

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Journeys and Stories Art Project
Journeys and Stories Art Project

Elizabeth Fry and Thames Valley Partnership have been working together over a number of years to provide creative activity for residents at the hostel. The artwork currently displayed on the walls is the outcome of a 2-year project, Women at the HeArt, and has led to funding from Arts Council England to support our current project: Journeys and Stories. These sessions are led by experienced artists Christine Wilkinson and Carla Conte and are leading up to public exhibitions at Reading Museum and MERL (Museum of English Rural Life).

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Pilgrim Trust Gives Generous Award to Elizabeth Fry for Substance Misuse Work
Pilgrim Trust Gives Generous Award to Elizabeth Fry for Substance Misuse Work

The Pilgrim Trust has awarded nearly £70,000 to Elizabeth Fry for carrying out substance misuse work at the Approved Premises. The award will pay for the salary of a substance misuse worker for three years. Substance misuse has affected many of our residents’ lives and they will benefit from the project. We are most grateful to the Pilgrim Trust for their most generous award.

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Memories of Marjorie Griffin
Memories of Marjorie Griffin

We were saddened to hear of the death of Marjorie Griffin, a previous Warden at Elizabeth Fry who had managed the hostel from 1955 to 1975 and was responsible for the hostel’s move from London to its current location in Reading. Marjorie visited Elizabeth Fry in July 2011 to celebrate the re-opening of the building following the fire in 2009. She also spoke at the Service at Greyfriars Church in 2012, celebrating 50 years since the hostel’s move to Reading. It was a privilege to hear Marjorie talk about her experiences at the hostel and she proved to be a real inspiration to both staff and residents.

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