Helping Change Lives
Established in 2013, Yellow Ribbon is a through-the-gate charity which works with ex-offenders, providing a vital bridge between prison and effective life back in the community.
Believing forgiveness and reconciliation are key to welcoming people out of prison and back into society we befriend, assist, challenge and change behaviour that may have lead to offending.
By offering accommodation, one to one mentoring, and helping ex-offenders address issues, we believe that lives can be turned around.
What our clients say
Yellow Ribbon has really saved my life. Before I came to Yellow Ribbon I was in and out of prison every couple of years, and doing drugs just to get through the days. A couple of times I came close to dying from drugs or doing stupid stuff while on them. I didn't care. I felt my life had no value.
I don't think there was one single life-changing moment, but I guess over time I just began to accept that my life needed to change, but somehow I could never quite find the strength to do it. While inside there were detox programs sure, but there was so much mamba on the wing that nobody really stayed clean. And getting out really wasn’t that much of an improvement on being inside. A lot of previous places I ended up living at when out on release were often well dodgy, drugs everywhere, and full of all the wrong sort of people. It’s no wonder I kept giving up and going back to my old ways
That was my life. For more years than I want to think about.
And then I somehow found my way to Yellow Ribbon when I was chucked out of prison… Oh man, has that saved me! I mean REALLY saved me. I’m sure that I would have ended up dead one way or another.
Yellow Ribbon welcomed me in, gave me a place to live, like a really nice place too, not some grotty hostel place, we are talking about a nice house, clean and modern. My own room, big TV in downstairs lounge, broadband… nice kitchen. It's way nicer than where I grew up.
They sorted out my benefits, helped me solve a previous debt problem which caught up with me, and are now helping me to find a job, which is a first for me. I’ve never had a proper job before.
But the main thing is that the staff there helped me find the strength to stay off the drugs, to go to my rehab program, and to start respecting myself, and also those around me. I used to have some pretty screwed up ideas about how people “dis-respect” me. It is only since being at Yellow Ribbon that I have really started to understand exactly what respect really means.
They showed me that everyone has a value, and can make a place for themselves in society. They really opened my eyes.
I will never be able to thank everyone at YR enough for all they have done for me. They have given me a future.
I spent four years in prison. And over that time I've changed a lot, I really don't recognise the person that commited the crime all those years back. I don’t have any excuses for what I did. For a long time I looked around for someone, anyone, to blame - rather than looking to myself and seeing that the only person that could be blamed was me. I was an angry angry guy. I was an idiot. I ruined someone's life.
But, as I said - that's not who I am now, and Yellow Ribbon has been a big part of that change.
When it came to my release day, I was met at the gate by YR staff, who drove me to my first probation meeting, and then from there took me to the place I now call Home.
And Home is a really nice house in Telford. I have been sharing it for a while now with a couple of other guys who had also been released not long before me. I have my own room, which is really nice, and we share the lounge and kitchen. I get on really well with the other guys in the house. They are in the same place in life that I am… I mean that they have accepted that its time to get their life in order, and are doing something positive about it.
And that's what YR has done, helped me get my life in order.
They have helped me sort out housing benefit and universal credit, so I had some money coming in. They helped me sign up with a doctor and a dentist. They helped me to collect some food from the local foodbank until my UC money started coming through. They even managed to get me some clothes, because I left prison with pretty much nothing.
Its all really helped. And since then I have made a lot more progress.
I’m much more confident now, and the probation service have commented on the huge progress in confidence and self reliance I have made. I have been volunteering on several of YRs projects, and have just been for a job interview which I am fairly sure I will get. Something I could never have done without all the help and support of YR.
And I have some plans now for the future too. I've seen first hand how important that all the work that YR do is. And how it can change, and even save lives. Some of the volunteers here were helped themselves by YR when they left prison, and now give up some of their time to help as Mentors and volunteers. I hope soon to be able to give something back in the same way too. Its a way to say thanks for all the help I have had, and to help others turn their life around the same way I have.
*names and images changed for privacy – text condensed from interviews
Team members from Yellow Ribbon will soon be running a Marathon in support of the Samaritans and mental health. As commented in other recent news items – this has been mental health awareness week, and here at Yellow Ribbon mental health something we take very seriously. So much so, we felt we should help to support it more widely. Why?? Well, its a shocking fact, but the national office of statistics reports that male prisoners are around 4 times more likely to take their own life whilst in custody than national average. Self harm, depression and anxiety are still massive...Read More
This week (18th – 24th May) is “Mental Health Week”. [Edit:: Link to documents updated 21/05/2020 – NewsDesk] Many of our clients leave prison with some issues of depression or anxiety, and the extended period of lockdown and social isolation has been a difficult time for them. We have published various updates and mental health support info over the last few weeks, specifically in relation to the negative effects on mental health and overall wellbeing that coronavirus and the enforced lockdown brings. It is one of our daily briefing main topics. And we have reported our increased the frequency of...Read More
We are currently looking to fill two posts here at Yellow Ribbon Key Worker/Support Worker Part-time role working , 22.5 hours a week flexible between Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 16.30 pm. Being a Key Worker at Yellow Ribbon is sometimes demanding but always hugely rewarding for those with the passion, drive and commitment to improve the lives of people with complex personal challenges Purpose of Role: Your primary role will be to directly support our clients. You will work with them to help them live happy and fulfilled lives that are as independent as possible. You will support...Read More
An interview with Andy Partridge – Head of Operations at Yellow Ribbon There can be no downplaying the impact that the Coronavirus has had on everyone the world over right now. The news is often filled with reports of how peoples lives, their businesses and ways of working have been massively impacted by the restrictions needed to help control spread of the pandemic. I asked have asked Andy Partridge, Head of operations here at Yellow Ribbon a few questions to give a little insight into the challenges and changes we have faced during this period. ‘From your perspective as Head...Read More
As we have mentioned in several news items, there are plans to release early some prisoners who are near to the end of their sentence to assist in reducing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the prison system. To date there has been a very limited number of prisoners who have actually been released under this scheme, and this is perhaps due to in part to the fairly complex criteria involved in assessing those eligible for release. Pact (the Prison Advice and Care Trust) – a charity that provides support to prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. has...Read More
Inside time the prison magazine reports : With prisoners across the UK locked up in their cells, a lot of books will be read. And one book, in particular, is proving popular – because prisons are bulk-buying it to hand out free on the wings. Unconscious Incarceration is a self-help book that encourages the reader to examine their selfish habits, make a change and turn their life around. inside time : https://insidetime.org/self-help-book-handed-out-in-jails/ The book itself is based on the Dickens book A Christmas Carol, and features a heroin addict who receives three visitors who force him to stop and re-examine...Read More
The team here at Yellow Ribbon have been working hard to ensure that we maintain a high level of support for our clients during the Covid-19 Lockdown period. Our latest response to the challenge has been the re-purposing of donated out-dated IT equipment to bring high-quality video calling to our houses. Many of us have grown used to the idea of video calls and remote working as part of our daily lives now, and over the last few weeks the IT department here at YR have been working to roll out our own secure version of this technology to our...Read More
People often ask how they can help Yellow Ribbon with our work, and the answer is that really there are a number of ways. We list just a few in our ‘Get Involved‘ section. But right now what we are really short of is: Bath towels Single and double bedding (Any plain colours would be ideal) If you have any that you can donate please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org We can arrange collection as our offices are currently closed due to the lockdown. If you are in a position to offer us food parcels or have any left...Read More
The UK prison population has fallen by at least 3,700 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, due to courts being closed and police making fewer arrests. Recently published official figure show a reduction of nearly 4000 people currently held in UK prisons. This figure however is down to the reduction of arrests and court closures rather than being as a result of the previously announced early release schemes put in place to combat the current coronavirus situation. Explaining the reduction in prison numbers, Lord Keen (Ministry of Justice spokesman in the House of Lords), commented in debate on April...Read More
It has been reported that there will be an increase to the “Discharge Grant” given to prisoners upon release. Lucy Frazer QC MP indicated in answers to the Commons Justice Committee that prisoners being released early due to the current Coronavirus situation will receive £80 rather than the usual £46. It was also indicated that those who met the criteria for early release may also be issued with a mobile phone to allow them to remain in contact with their offender managers, and also to claim universal credit via a telephone hotline. However, speaking on April 14th, fully ten days...Read More
A second death attributed to Coronavirus at HMP Littlehey confirms that prisons with an older population are at significant risk. The BBC news site today confirms a third prisoner death, with two of those three deaths at the same prison – HMP Littlehey in Cambridge. Although the deaths are indicated as being in older inmates – described as having underlying health problems, it is clear that with figures from several days back showing 65 inmates had tested positive, that coronavirus can find its way pretty much everywhere. Lawyer Simon Creighton, who has inmates among his clients, told BBC Newsnight that...Read More
You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include having to stay at home and avoid other people. This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. Mind, the mental health charity has updated their guide to coping with the added stress of having to self-isolate and follow social distancing. It features a range of advice – much of which applies to us all, but with specific additional advice for those who suffer from anxiety or depression. As ever, Yellow Ribbon...Read More
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Daily Prayer for May 28
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:5–6, NIV Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we may be your children. We thank you that through your Spirit our hearts may know that we are your children. Even when everything around us becomes difficult and we are hemmed in by darkness, we remain your children. Even when we often do not see how we are to go on and everything seems to be taken from us, we remain your children. Even when sin and death surround us and accuse us of being in the wrong, we still remain your children. As your children we entrust ourselves to your hands. In our whole life, in all our work and activity, we dwell in what has come from you, and we rejoice in Christ our Savior. Amen. Free ebook this week: Escape Routes: For People Who Feel Trapped in Life’s Hells by Johann Christoph Arnold Download it here.