Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
COMMENDEE 2013-14: Intervention Worker (Phoenix Futures): for dedication and skill in addressing the needs of women prisoners with substance misuse problems.
Going ‘above and beyond her role’ of Intervention Worker to provide guidance and help for the women at HMP Holloway has earned Mandy Ogunmokun a Butler Trust Commendation.
Having worked to become clean from her own addictions through determined self-development, colleagues have described her as ‘an excellent example of how to turn your life around, from prisoner to interventions worker’. Starting out as a trainee carat worker five years ago, Mandy has since become an ambassador for the Rapt Carat Team in HMP Holloway and now the Phoenix Futures Interventions Team.
Mandy uses her own experiences to encourage others to share their stories, so that she can then signpost women on to appropriate support services. ‘My own journey of drug addiction and prison helps to inspire and motivate them, as they can see that change is possible – especially as I now work in the prison I used to be a prisoner in,’ she said of her approach. She offers support for all areas of substance misuse, from confidence-building to relapse and overdose prevention, and colleagues describe her as a ‘calming influence within her team’, who can ‘communicate effectively with very challenging women’.
In her own time, she has founded a charity called Treasures, which aims to aid women with substance misuse issues and housing needs upon release from prison. This dedication to supporting others has led to Mandy working unpaid on weekends and evenings, as she strives to work not only with the women in Holloway but also within the community beyond the prison to support women on release.
She has had a significant positive impact on the women at Holloway, as evidenced by the positive feedback from service user forums, and ‘facilitates various group work packages to an exceptionally high standard.’ In her role as fellowship lead, she has seen meeting occurrence and attendance increase – and has trained other women to hold their own meetings. Nicky Wilsenham, the Building Futures Service Manager, said of Mandy, ‘She has dedicated her life to supporting others and acted as an inspirational figure for those who have little or no hope.’
For more information: contact HMP/YOI Holloway