Date: 19 October 2008 18:41:21
As you will know, we have had some good progress with our allotment project. This is only part of what we would like to do, given the time and funds that we can raise. It is the main work for now but is something that Judith enjoys far more than I do. Too me a plant is a weed unless I know what it is. I can't tell a potato plant from a sapling.
I feel that my work lies in other areas.
One of the things that has interested me in recent years is the work that we can do to help to rehabilitate criminals in a more effective way. There are organisations, such as Victory Outreach, that do this already. I don't see us participating in the same way just yet but I think I can offer something to those currently being entertained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.
I've been in a similar position that some of these youngsters are in but was lucky not to find myself imprisoned. I was lucky enough to prevent myself falling any further down the slope but these guys need someone to help or just listen.
Today we were able to visit a nearby Youth Offenders Institute (YOI). We had never been to such a facility before. Thankfully we were prepared for what we would find by Smudgie's own postings. Unfortuantely there were no sniffer dogs on duty this afternoon... Smudgie still has time to show us her impersonation!
The lad that we visited had been woken up as no one had told him that we were visiting today. He knew that we were coming at some stage, just not when. We remembered the rules as to what we could and could not discuss and had a very enjoyable hour.
What made it even better was that none of us felt very uncomfortable, as you might expect too during a meeting with someone you don't know. It took a little time for the conversation to flow but it did. Thankfully the lad concerned understands what has happened and has accepted that he has a few years to try to put things right in time for his eventual release.
For a while I have thought that this is something that I'd like to do. After today I want to do more of it. I'd like to find the opportunity to do this more often. I'm not there to preach to them but to show them that someone cares and is willing to help. They don't need sermons they need people who can show that they are not forgotten and alone. They need to be shown that there is hope for them and a real opportunity at a new life.