Ex-offender volunteers to help others on probation in the community
The East of England’s leading family charity, Ormiston Families, is celebrating Volunteers’ Week with ex-offender Liz Ellis due to finish volunteering for their five-week Transforming Rehabilitation programme at Centenary House in Norwich.
Liz, 49, from Norwich, found herself in prison for theft when her life spiralled out of control due to alcohol addiction, which later led to mental health issues. Liz was a functioning alcoholic for 10 years along with her husband, who introduced her to excessive drinking.
Volunteer, Liz Ellis, says: “I was surrounded by drink and couldn’t stop myself, which could only lead to one thing, a breakdown. I lost everything, my home, my husband and my job. My consumption of alcohol was very high and so I stole to fuel my addiction as I wasn’t working. It makes me sad to think now.”
The ‘Who am I?’ programme that Liz Ellis is a volunteer for at Ormiston Families supports those who have received a community order or licence and aims to raise awareness and improve the relationships they have with family, children or important others upon release.
Liz says: “The people in the ‘Who am I?’ group need support and advice, so it gives meaning and purpose to the pain I went through with my alcohol addiction and my own imprisonment. I feel privileged to have been able to support others in a position that I was once in.”
“By the end of each session, the service users have laughed, and they all have a smile of their faces. I love encouraging them to reflect on who they really are and to better themselves in their lives after prison,” Liz adds.
Ormiston Families provides wide-ranging support for children and young people, from mental health services, help to bridge the gap between home and school, to support for imprisonment and much more.
Identifying and responding to the needs of children, whatever challenges they face, the charity’s vision is of a world in which every child is safe, healthy and happy.