“When the Crown Court judge asked me for my professional opinion before he sentenced my client…that really brought home to me how far I had come!”
These are the words of Jo Noe, a Key Worker at Gloucester ISIS Women’s Centre who has just been nominated for an award by the criminal justice charity “No Offence”. … and what a journey Jo has achieved in the past twelve years. In 2004 Jo was the woman on the wrong side of the law, serving a prison sentence and taking her first steps towards recovery from heroin addiction after a hard life of abuse, neglect and substance misuse. In 2006 Jo came to the Nelson Trust for residential addiction treatment and we supported her to resettle in the Stroud area to begin a new life in recovery.
As soon as Jo was out of treatment she began to volunteer with local groups supporting people into addiction recovery, and she also began to study and gain professional qualifications in social care. When ISIS opened its doors in 2010, Jo came forward to complete her training, first as a volunteer, then as a part-time support worker. Within two years Jo became a full-time Key Worker managing her own caseload of clients, all of them vulnerable women in trouble with the police and very frequently also locked in a cycle of addiction, abusive relationships and offending. Jo is especially adept at working to engage and motivate women when their lives are chaotic and they feel utterly disempowered in the world.
Jo has transformed the lives of many of her clients over the past five years, and her passion for her work is as powerful as ever: anyone who has met Jo will never forget her energy and commitment to the women she works with. Why? Because Jo has drawn on her own experience to develop a keen understanding and empathy: she identifies closely with her clients. “I try to give them what I never had – consistency, affirmation, belief in the possibility of change. By accepting my past I can help other women move forward”.
This week, Jo’s colleagues - and supporters of the ISIS Women's Centre and the Nelson Trust - have a chance to recognise her inspiring journey of recovery by voting for her to win the Justice and Redemption Award 2015. Voting is a quick and simple process, and you do not have to provide any personal information. Simply click this link to the No Offence voting page, scroll through the shortlisted candidates’ profiles to the bottom of the page and vote for your favourite candidate. Hurry though, voting closes on 1st July.
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