Good News Stories - feedback from Caroline

6 May 2022

It is always great to receive feedback from women who have used and benefitted from our service and we were delighted when ex-resident Caroline agreed to share her experiences with us. Here's what she had to say:

What feelings did you have about Elizabeth Fry Approved premises before you moved in ?
I had visited a Hostel in London beforehand and didn’t like it- so I wasn’t looking forwards to going to Elizabeth Fry at the beginning. It was really wrong for me to compare as everywhere is so different and deserves a “try”. I was worried I might get recalled for being five minutes late for groups or keyworks …. That was the rumour in the Prison. I didn’t manage to speak to any other women who had stayed there so I was quite unsure what to expect.  The Chaplain drove me to Reading and that really helped my anxiety. In the afternoon I met my Probation Officer and then I started to relax and was determined to give things a go.
  
How did your stay at Elizabeth Fry Approved Premises help you to resettle in the community- and what did you like about being a resident ?.
The atmosphere was really calm, and I felt listened to by staff, including the Managers. This support was so welcome after being in Prison for a long time. Once I got into the routine of being outside I started to be able to concentrate on the groups that were held each morning. Some I had done already in Prison but it was helpful to remind myself …. as things like “budgeting” didn’t seem that important at the time on the inside. I learned skills about surviving on my own, how to stay away from unhelpful and bad situations without returning to drugs or alcohol and not to lose my temper so quickly.
  
If you could give a message to someone who is uncertain about staying in Elizabeth Fry what would it be ?
It’s a good place to be if you want to change your way of life and are ready to. All the support will be there for you – so give it a try! Staff can help you no end and they put you in touch with experts if you need support with your physical or mental health, benefits advice, debts, paying fines and substance s like alcohol or drugs.

I have really learned to love myself , my new home and my new routine.

 

Good News Stories - feedback from Caroline