Khulisa Voice: James, aged 24 at HMP Forest Bank

This month we worked with a young man called James (not his real name) at HMP Forest Bank. James has been in and out of the care system for much of his young life, has been homeless, used drugs and has self-harmed in the past as a coping mechanism. He was referred to our 'Silence the Violence' programme by his Offender Supervisor, who felt that he might benefit from inclusion. James was unemployed, and was spending up to 20 hours a day sleeping in his cell, self-isolating due to his very low self-esteem. 

James grew in confidence during the course of the programme and disclosed that he had gone from self-harming at least twice a day to not self-harming at all during the week of the programme as he found a different way to deal with his emotions. He also said that he felt safe on the programme and has never felt like this before.

As a thank you to our Programme Manager at HMP Forest Bank, Caroline Brindle, James drew the above image which he says encapsulates who Khulisa are and what we explore through our programmes. He also wrote a letter of thanks saying:

"I would like to thank you, the Khulisa team and the STV programme for giving me the opportunity to take part and in the long run, give me a chance to live my life again. Doing this course made me feel that I'm worth something. I feel more open about myself and more open to new possibilities. To sit here now and have these feelings after everything I've been through is life changing. I just want to thank you and respect the people that took their time to help me get here. I really appreciate it."

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