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Being heard

Ricky Sykes In a series of recorded interviews, User Voice’s Ricky Sykes gets a different look at the lives of the young people he works with One of the highlights of my work with User Voice so far has definitely been interviewing young people for this section

17 and homeless

Lucy Lucy was kicked out of home on her 17th birthday My mother and I have never had a good relationship; the difference in our personalities has always kept a brick wall between us. For years there’s been tension in our household and even months when my

Finding order after an order

Harley Harley writes about how a big decision in her teens led to a fulfilling role as an apprentice youth engagement worker through User Voice. I first realised I wanted to get into this type of job when I was on an order myself. I realised that working

POEM: This is my story

Look I ain’t God so I ain’t the creator I’m thinking of a time where there were no haters Where people could walk around with no fear Where kids could see their mums with no tears This is my story so please listen carefully Let someone want

Life beyond prison

Shauna When Shauna left prison she knew she would have to shed friends and stay motivated. After being sentenced to five years in prison at the age of 19, life beyond prison become hard to visualise. I am now 22 and have been out of prison for

User Voice at Children’s Commissioner Takeover Day 2012

Zak On Friday 23 November, Zak* was invited to take part in the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day, a national event which gives children and young people the chance to shadow jobs and have their voices heard A number of young people from around the country spent the

Review: Love Life 6958

Ella G reviews Love Life 6958: Memoirs from the Pen by Chris Syrus Life is a journey sometimes walked in light, sometimes in the dark. This book invites you on a journey into the heart of a man, Chris Syrus, who through his talent powerfully and effectively

Poem: One Month In

The anger, the heartache, the pain, the despair, I look in her eyes, I see it all there The hurt I have caused, the promises broken, I see in her tears without words being spoken. The sound of her deep wracking sobs breaks my heart I know

From Strangeways to the ‘Write Stuff’

James MacVeigh James MacVeigh’s first play hit the stage in a prestigious London theatre. Here he tells the story of how he went from robber to writer. My Dad kicked me out in 1963 at the age of 16. After I was caught breaking into cars, I

Writing with Conviction

David Honeywell Education – or should I say my lack of it was the very thing that made my life a very long up-hill struggle. And it was my poor schooling and bad teachers that made me despise anything to do with classrooms or learning for over

You Might have Won the Battles but I Won the War

Sophie Barton-Hawkins “LEAVE HER TO DIE”, the words uttered outside my cell supposedly out of earshot. Another suicide attempt. Just another day in HMP for me. Another 855 to go. My life was full of numbers. TG6992… Cell C1-17… 30 red entries… 10 days CC… 10 adjudications…all

Walk for Forgiveness

Frankie Owens My name is Frankie Owens I was prisoner A1443CA at Her Majesty’s Pleasure until 2nd August 2011. I suffered from a Bipolar disorder and it was this untreated illness that led to me going to prison. As a first time offender I had no idea