Sefton and Liverpool Women in Business

Dress It Forward Case Studies

Sarah, 48

I’m single, now divorced, I’ve got two grown up children. I’m close to my mum, my mum lives in Lancashire and I was living close by her before I went away.

I was sentenced to four years, in custody – so I served two years in prison and I’ve got two years’ probation, and when I came out, I had to go and live in a hostel for the first three months and now I’m about seven months out. Nine months I’ve been out. I’m now down to just going every month to see my probation officer because they don’t have any concerns about me.

Prior to Sarah’s conviction

I got my A’Levels and then I just was a bit aimless really. So I went to Uni and I packed it in because I couldn’t see the point of it. I got married soon after that and my husband was in catering so we moved around a lot. After we had the kids, I got divorced because it was what you call a domestic abuse relationship.

I was married eleven years, and then I got into another relationship which lasted about 15 years. That was another abusive relationship because I was in a very bad place when I came out of the first one and the second guy came along and appeared to be something better, but he turned out to be worse.

But while I was in that and I was bringing up the kids, I went back to college, I went back to learn word processing and I just got hooked and interested in computers and I carried on until I got a degree, and then I got a job and I worked for fourteen years until I had to leave.

I was working fulltime and I was in quite a responsible job.  I am determined to find work so I’m going after jobs that I think are a little bit of a step down but more realistic to get back into as I have had no success applying for jobs I did before.

Sarah explains how she got involved in Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business CIC’s Dress It Forward Campaign and looks to the future

You’re treated so awfully in prison really and you’re either known by your surname or you’re shouted at by a number.

The Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business are amazing. Just to be with people who treat you with respect and understand that you’ve made a mistake but you’re still a person meant so much. Being treated as though you were an equal was very noticeable, it had a big impact on me.

I found it encouraging and it’s been very helpful. I think you lose the way to converse and the way to behave because you’re shut away and you’re not mixing with people who you’d normally mix with, so you haven’t got much in common with them and you forget how to act like an ordinary person really in some ways, so it’s good to get back into that again, to have that opportunity.

I was fortunate when I got out because I’d only made two friends in prison and both of them were in Liverpool – although none of us came from here! And one of them was working on this project and she introduced me to it.

I know that the work that Sefton Women & Liverpool Women in business CIC and Bauer Academy are doing will really make a difference to people’s lives and I think that even simply just being treated as a normal person again is the biggest gift of all.


Jane, 27

Well I’ve got a dad and a mum and they’re separated and my dad’s married to a new lady and they have two children and I have two children as well and an ex-husband.

My dad met my mum in Germany because he was in the army and then I got married in Germany and then I moved back to England when I broke up with my ex-husband.

I lost custody of my children in 2013 at around the time of my conviction.

I’m a level three in Hairdressing and Photography. I did the level three in Photography in college and the level three Hairdressing in college as well, but I did my level one and two Hairdressing in jail.

Yeah, my conviction was arson and it’s changed everything. It was a one-off. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like that.  It’s changed my whole life. It’s changed where I live, how I live, my whole family dynamic. I don’t live anywhere near my family, but also it’s helped me to see what I did wrong and how I behaved was wrong.

Jane explains how she got involved in Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business CIC’s Dress It Forward Campaign and looks to the future

It’s made me feel like I belong somewhere. It made me feel like someone cared. It gave me the confidence to talk about what had happened to me and not feel ashamed, to think that it’s okay and there are people who will help you and not everyone thinks that you’re a really bad person.

The unfailing support is incredible and it’s unconditional and no matter what you need or want or any type of help, you’ll get it and you can trust the people who are there as well.

They take away the taboo of being an offender, take away that tarnish and make people see that not everybody is a repeat offender, not everybody has done it because they’re so bad and even people that have done really, really bad offences or have got repeat offences, that there’s still hope for everyone given the support to turn their lives around.


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