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Organisation: The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C

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The New Leaf Initiative C.I.C

The New Leaf Initiative CIC is a young, dynamic and innovative non-profit organisation, founded in 2014 by people with lived experience of the criminal justice system, meaning we are fully embedded and credible within the community we are trying to empower and engage. Marie-Claire O’Brien is the award-winning Managing Director and Founder of New Leaf and the Community Development Director is Caroline Carr, who was employed by the Probation Service for 22 years, winning awards for her Stakeholder Engagement.

The unique combination of both lived and professional experience of the CJS means that New Leaf is expertly placed to cover all aspects of service user engagement and progression away from crime. Over the last four years we have supported 180+ people intensively, including; 56 people with direct hostel access or housing advice, 106 people into education and training, 37 people with mental health issues and provided addiction and detox support to 19 service users. Our main outcome has been supporting 46% of our service users into employment. We have done this by creating a linear pathway, which are a series of steps people with convictions can tap into to support their transition and resettlement into the community. They include;

* Motivational sessions – Interactive sessions delivered in 18 prisons nationwide with 97% of prisoners giving positive feedback recorded by the National Careers Service in three geographical locations around the UK.

* New Leaf Good Wood Project - established in three prisons to date; prisoners create bespoke products from recycled pallet waste-wood for New Leaf to sell. Therapeutic and creative work-based intervention to engage serving prisoners pre-release.

* Service User Consultations - New Leaf was born out of consultation with over 400 people who were serving sentences in the community. Our aim is to hear and value the voices of the community we serve. We have recently conducted several service-user consultations in the community and in custody, with 256 respondents contributing at HMP Birmingham visits centre. Other focus groups include HMP Send and HMP Downview women’s prisons around bullying issues, as well as creating a Leaders with lived experience forum around prison education. We feed into National consultations with our findings in order to shape policy and practise for the better.

* The New Leaf Network - a National network of people and organisations with a variety of lived expertise who now work as professionals to support others still trapped within the system. We have already secured paid work as a consultative body to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and wish to make this a National Resource that Criminal Justice Professionals and Researchers can tap into.

Pathways Covered

Attitudes, thinking and behaviour


What we do

The New Leaf Initiative is a peer mentoring organisation with a focus on prison industry and employability training and opportunities for prisoners and ex-offenders out in the community. We provide through-the-gate support to give the best possible chance of a positive resettlement and have genuine employment opportunities on release, thereby reducing the social problem of high reoffending rates and low rates of employment for this disadvantaged group. We plan to open a training academy/workshop for those released from prison so that they can progress into sustainable employment or form their own businesses.

How to access

For information on what we can offer in terms of volunteering opportunities and our through-the-gate job coaching and mentor scheme, please text, call or email us on:


Education, training and employment


What we do

* Vocational Education delivery - including CSCS cards in custody and out in the community, employability level 1 and 2, the Award in Education and Training level 3. We were commissioned in 2018 by the Education and Training Foundation to deliver a level 3 qualification to 12 ex-prisoners which we did very successfully. We also have our own non-accredited and accredited courses which have been commissioned by prisons and Approved Probation Premises which focus on changing the mindsets of our service user’s so they feel more positive and confident about their resettlement, skills and future goals.
* Peer-mentoring – Soft skills development and asset building in the community at our weekly drop-in and at our offices in central Birmingham; providing holistic and person-centred support to those who wish to change their lives. Mentored 180+ people with convictions with 89 people supported into sustainable employment.
* Employment Academies - In partnership with Probation, Birmingham Metropolitan college and Virgin Trains who have employed several of our candidates successfully. We have more employers and recruiters wishing to work with and support our candidates.
* Work Experience and Volunteering opportunities - Within one of our social enterprises including painting and decorating, gardening, support work and recruitment. So far, we have given work experience to 12 service users and wish to expand this further.

Where we do it

Birmingham - within prisons and in the community

How to access

Whether you are an ex-offender, a Prison, partner agency or somebody who believes in our mission, we want to hear from you. For information on what we can offer in terms of volunteering opportunities and our through-the-gate job coaching and mentor scheme, please text, call or email us on: