Published on 16 January 2020

Fay Reid – Transforming Rehabilitation

Ormiston Families supports young people and their families across the East of England to feel safe, healthy and resilient and provide them with the tools their need to look after their wellbeing and build a brighter future. Our aim is to help people make choices to improve the life chances of their children.

Fay Reid is a Senior Practitioner for our Transforming Rehabilitation service, a programme which supports ex offenders and their families to reconnect with their community and build stronger relationships.  Fay has a wealth of experience behind her having worked in probation, substance abuse, mental health, and is also a trained Relate counsellor. Earlier in the year Fay won the prestigious High Sheriff’s Community Engagement Award, having been nominated by a service user.

Fay and her colleagues all work remotely covering their own patches across the east of England, working with ex-offenders who need some support during their probation period to learn more about who they are, enhance their communication skills and strengthen or rebuild relationships. Fay and the team offer one to one support as well as courses for groups through the service’s ‘Who Am I?’ project.

Many of the people Fay meets day to day are looking for support in getting relationships back on track, with the most commonly asked request of finding a way to see their children again. Every person and every family set up is different so once Fay receives the initial referral she must ensure she is aware of any potential risks or historical issues in terms of domestic violence, or restraining orders before she can support them. She must then ascertain whether it is a situation in which she can mediate or if it is an issue the courts should resolve.

Fay has many heart-warming stories of how the service has helped bring families back together, with one example of a man who was referred to her after spending two years in prison and desperately wanted to see his two very young children, one of which he had never met. After establishing that his ex-partner did not want to see him, Fay arranged with her for a friend of the family to bring the children to meet him. Fay joined them for the first meeting and recalled how the oldest child, just three years old at the time had brought with her a drawing she had made of herself and her dad holding hands, and how excited she was to give it to him. When he walked into the restaurant where they were waiting she froze, staring with amazement at him the whole time. The youngest who was crying, instantly stopped when he picked her up. Fay says: “The dad just couldn’t talk, he was so pleased, he was a mess. I will never forget that family.”

The ‘Who Am I?’ programme is a five-week course which focusses on communication skills and beliefs and values; and helps participants look at their own behaviour and how they interact with others. It is designed to improve relationships and make people think about how they might respond in certain situations.

Fay says: “Communication and listening can be very difficult; it doesn’t matter who you are. This course helps change your expectations in terms of communication – the problem could be your interpretation of someone’s response. You might have expected them to respond differently, but its important to remember the way they have reacted could be for many different reasons and won’t likely be anything to do with you.”

Find out how we supported Simon to understand his past behaviour through the ‘Who Am I?’ programme and how it inspired him help others by co-facilitating a recent course with Fay here.

Fay says: “I just am so happy that I can provide people with the ability to change their lives. You have to love people to do this kind of work, and I really do. I offer them respect and understanding regardless of their situation. There aren’t many services out there like this one and it is so important to keep families connected.”

For more information on the Transforming Rehabilitation service or work we do for families affected by imprisonment please visit our webpage