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NPS London Probation

Kilvinder Vigurs  

Divisional Director at National Probation Service (London)

We invited Gethin to speak to our middle management group as part of our ‘Leading London Initiative’. This initiative consists of a series of events to develop our staff and help inspire/shape NPS’s next generation of leaders. The workshop itself focused on Leadership vs. Management.

 

Gethin ran two sessions which were very well received. All of those who attended rated the event either four or five stars (out of a possible five) and many asked for follow up sessions. Gethin himself was very enthusiastic and his inspirational story really resonated with our staff.

HMP Liverpool

Pia Sinha Governor

Excellent presentation by Gethin to staff and residents. Everyone was riveted and humbled by his honest account and you could literally see the seeds of change being planted as he spoke.

So inspired and grateful to Gethin for sharing this with us and helping us along our journey towards being better custodians for the men in our care. Thank you and please visit us again. 

 

John Woolham (HMP Liverpool)

Decency and Rehabilitation Lead

Having met Gethin a few times I thought I knew what I was in for when this talk was to be delivered. Wrong, he took me by surprise.

The impassioned way he discussed himself, his life, his experiences and how with some mental resolve to recover from his past life, to move on and to be a success is nothing short of inspirational to anyone lucky enough to meet him. Not only this though, the way he now engages with vulnerable people and those in custody sends a real message of hope to them. Remarkable.

London CRC MTC

David Hood MD

Gethin spoke at our annual awards ceremony for employees and service users, and used his own story to inspire the audience about how people from every part of the justice sector can work together to support a service user on their journey away from criminal activity.

His words, both humorous and thoughtful, truly resonated with the audience and his acknowledgement of the support his Probation Officer gave him rang true. ‘If anyone asked me what made a difference,’ he said, ‘I would say “people”.

People change people.’ He lit up the room with enthusiasm and afterwards many front-line employees (including probation officers) spoke about how his recognition of their work energised and inspired them. A wonderful talk to help draw our ceremony to an end, and we wouldn’t hesitate to ask him back!

Staff soundbites 

‘Gethin was a great speaker, and he really moved the room by telling our practitioners how important they are in the journey of a service user. It was a message that they really needed to hear, and I know many of them were really touched.’

‘I loved Gethin’s talk. I think it gave us a really important reminder of things we should hold with us every day.’

HMPYOI Aylesbury

Danielle Cooper 

Custodial Manager Operations

I have been fortunate enough to hear Gethin speak on a few occasions now and from each I have taken something away.

His experiences have provided me with a different perspective and instilled hope. Only positive things can come from hearing Gethin’s story and I am grateful  there are people out there like him willing to share and help others.

Staff soundbite

Gethin articulates the message of rehabilitation and desistance in a way that is understandable and inspiring for all in the vicinity of his voice. Gethin speaks from a unique perspective and on every occasion Gethin has challenged me, taught me something new and filled me with hope for system wide change. ‘

HMP Stocken

Neil Thomas

Governor

Gethin spoke to roughly 100 – 150 of our staff as part of the new HMPPS business strategy launch and his input was invaluable.

We very rarely get to see the success that happens when people leave prison – and that can be quite deflating and can lead people to lose sight of why we do what we do. Seeing Gethin and hearing his story reminded us about  the impact that prison staff can have on people’s lives and that we need to maximise that impact for a positive outcome.

Looking around the room I saw lots of smiles as Gethin interacted with the audience and shared his stories, some with a funny twist! But ultimately it was thought provoking and inspiring – everyone really enjoyed it”

Mens feedback HMP Stocken

“I attended the Gethin Jones talk in the chaplaincy and I really enjoyed the session. I was inspired by the courage he showed as an ex-offender and in how he had developed a stable community based company.

I listened and was encouraged by his efforts to reach all of us, including staff with a message of reintegration, rehabilitation and the regeneration of self-worth”

HMP Addiewell (Sodexo)

Emma Stewart (Director)

Gethin stands out as an authentic example of the power of unlocking ones own potential, for oneself. Gethin is someone who was just right for our Prisons journey and who could help us move forward more effectively.
 
The staff responded very positively to Gethin’s story, positivity and message of hope. To hear a “reformed” residents message of “don’t do everything for residents, its essential they learn to help themselves” is reassuring.
The Residents were enthused, inspired, energised and hungry for Gethin’s message. Word spread like wildfire on the wings resulting in numerous requests to meet with Gethin.
 
WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND GETHIN
 
Gethin is the possibility of change, he is the conversation.
Gethin is immensely energetic and positive.
Gethin’s rapport with the staff and men is instant.
Gethin is an inspirational man, a friend to the system and an advocate for all who use and work with him.

HMP Addiewell (Sodexo)

John Joyce (head of opperations)

Gethin’s energy and enthusiasm matched his positive contributions on his website and social media.
The residents saw Gethin as ‘someone who knows what it’s like’.  Gethin has been the initiator to change for many of those he has worked with. Our staff connected instantly with what Gethin was saying and his reflection on his own journey.
 
Gethin has managed to reach out and inspire residents and staff that would be least likely to engage in self reflection in a way I have never seen before. Gethin created a sizeable change in some of our residents particularly around utilising the the time and opportunities available to them in prisons. Gethin unlocks everyones potential!

 

HMP Hollesley Bay

Governor  Garry Newnes

Gethin’s story is truly inspirational and incredibly thought provoking! So much of what he had to say resonated with me personally and professionally. Gethin has an ability to engage his audience like few speakers I have seen before! I’m very much looking forward to working with Gethin again in the near future. I would thoroughly encourage you to do the same

 

Internal Prison Event

David Goodwin

Prison Group Lead for Reducing Reoffending

We asked Gethin to speak at two separate events as we wanted some user voice input which would bring to life the aspects of prison work that we were dealing with. Gethin spoke at an Offender Management in Custody event attended by both prison and probation staff and at a Rehabilitative Culture event.

Each event had a different brief and emphasis which Gethin met in an engaging and grounded way. Gethin brought together an understanding of the topics from the view point of both staff and those we care for. I would recommend Gethin as someone who will enthuse and encourage people using realism and humour to effectively communicate his message.”

 

Newbold Revel Prison Officers Training College

Gail Hydon Deputy Director Performance Directorate | Professional Development and Capability  

We have worked with Gethin frequently for our Prison Officer graduation celebrations and most recently, as part of an initiative to up skill a group of Prison Officers whose aim was to reduce violence, improve decency and safety in our establishments through coaching and supporting their peers.  One of the reasons we keep engaging Gethin is the feedback we receive following his sessions.  Our staff always come away feeling inspired as Gethin has the ability to bring their important work to life, drawing on his own personal experiences in an entertaining and insightful manner.

I would recommend Gethin to anyone looking for a motivational speaker who engages with their audience and leaves people curious to learn more.

Audience feedback

I had the pleasure of meeting Gethin at my sons graduation Gethin inspired a lot of people that day. I went up and shook his hand because he is a wonderful man considering all he has been through. Gethin has turned his life around and should be so proud of himself. Gethin walked  through hell and back and turned out an awesome gentleman

Keep up the good work  .. Katherine 👍😁

HMP Lindholme 

Mark Barber on behalf of Simon Walters (Governor) 

I met Gethin when he was introduced to me by the Governor at HMP Lindholme , I was immediately impressed with Gethin’s persona and his style of delivery to the Men in our care, he held their attention throughout his delivery and gave them the confidence to ask difficult questions and disclose some personal experiences of their own. He immediately had their respect due to his own journey through life.

Gethin delivered a presentation to over 200  staff in the afternoon , I never known in a full staff meeting such engagement from staff with an external presenter, you could of heard a pin drop!!! , at the end of his delivery staff applauded without any prompting. Comments from staff,” wow what a powerful message”……. “It made me feel that I can make a difference in prisoners lives”……………” I was really impressed with that talk, it made me think” Gethin is very professional and knowledgeable presenter

HMP Bedford 

Governor Patrick Butler (PJ)

At HMP Bedford we are actively engaging with residents and staff to develop a rehabilative culture. Giving residents the opportunities and drive to live law abiding lives, to engage with their community, in custody and when they are released by giving them hope and determination to be successful in being crime free. Having heard Gethin speak previously, we believed as an establishment that it would be beneficial for our residents to hear the experiences from someone who has been in their shoes and has also turned their life around. Not just by staying crime free, but also using these life experiences to impact others.

 

We invited Gethin to speak with two groups of residents at HMP Bedford. During this day we were able to engage over 80 residents who were keen to hear of Genthin’s experience and how he was able to turn his life around. Gethin spoke openly and honestly to these residents and they were totally captivated by his story. The staff also supervising these event were also transfixed in his story, delivery and passion to make a difference.

 

I would recommend that all prisons use this opportunity to get the key messages of hope and desistance across to residents who have some, little or no hope of their future. Our residents all took something away from this day. They found it a very positive experience and believed all residents need to her Gethin’s story.

 

HMP Grendon

Governor Dr Jamie Bennett

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Thank you for presenting at the London & Thames Valley Rehabilitative Culture Workshop.

The aim of this event was to launch and embed our shared commitment to develop rehabilitative cultures in all of the prisons.  This requires us to reflect upon and develop our values, practices and services.

Your presentation was an essential part of the day.  You helped to reinforce the progressive and positive aims of prisons, to play a role in achieving social justice.  You also offered ideas that spoke on a personal level, about our own conduct and behaviour, as well as the more strategic development.

I am very grateful to you for taking the time and contributing to this workshop.  Your presentation helped to make the day a success.

HMP Channings Wood

Jez Fisher – Head of Reducing Re-offending

Channings-Wood-prisonPNGGethin came to Channings Wood to speak to both staff and men in our care, to deliver ‘Seeds of Belief’. It was inspiring and riveting to hear the story of how he turned his life around. He was open and honest about where he came from , the decisions he took and how his early days seemed to mould him into a life of crime. But as you listen to him and he explains the part that so many people played in helping him slowly change, sow the seeds and turn his life around was truly inspiring, and with a great deal of truth and humour thrown in.

The staff I spoke to after the event and still to this day say they found his talk made them think about the little things they do every day that can help make a different to someone’s life and they were full of admiration for how Gethin has changed and how he came across on his talk.

HMP Channings Wood

Residents Feedback

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When our men came to listen to Gethin, they were sitting in the chapel with, what appeared to be a disinterest in this chap in a smart suit, about to “preach” to them about prison life and one lad said to me “here we ago, someone else to tell us about us changing our ways, but knows nothing about what its really like”.

However after the first couple of minutes when Gethin dropped his “ I was one of you” , lines every man there seemed to change their demeanour.

They sat up, paid attention to what he was saying, heads were nodding as he spoke and at times you could have heard a pin drop from them as they were riveted by what Gethin was saying.

I would wholehearted recommend Gethin to come and talk to both staff and people in custody at your establishment.

Director of Thames Valley Prisons Group

Paul Baker

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Gethin is one the most inspirational speakers I have ever heard. His personal story of transformation lit up the room at a recent event I hosted, and the audience listened with spellbound attention.

His is a story of hope in the face of adversity, and resilience in the face of a society which is quick to condemn, and slow to offer redemption. His narrative that people, not systems and processes, change lives, will offer hope to organisations of any size, that it is the people they employ who have the power to become instruments of personal transformation, and that their effort is worthwhile and of real value every day of their lives.

I recommend Gethin to anyone who is seeking to inspire and revitalise a Workforce or Individuals, that they matter and that achievement and success is a state of mind.

HMP Onley

Kerrie Brooks Programme Manager and Prison Lead for Rehab Culture 

Kerrie Brooks #2 2Some Feedback from staff who attended the first half of the day was; “It’s great to see that the small things we do can make a big difference,” “Gethin has given me a new sense of purpose for my future career”, “I really enjoyed the training, it was relevant and worthwhile”.

At the Residents event, Gethin made his way around the venue and greeted our Residents as they arrived. This was appreciated by all, and assisted Gethin in engaging our Residents from the start.

On the back of these very successful events I have been asked by Residents for more information about Charities such as Clinks,  and other companies that support offenders being released from Prison to resettle. I have also been approached by a number of staff from a range of Grades and Disciplines who want to be more involved in our Project Work and support our priority to develop a rehabilitative culture.

HMP Guys Marsh

Suzy Young – Learning & Skills Manager

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Gethin came to Guys Marsh to deliver ‘Seeds of Belief’ to staff and residents.  It was inspiring to hear his story and the hardships he went through to turn his life around.  Both staff and residents were able to reflect on his words and his important message.

We were overwhelmed with the engagement and respect that he was given.  It was clear to see from the questions that the residents were asking him just how much of an impact he had made on them.  Two of the men also asked  Gethin for his contact details so that they could write to him for guidance on taking the next steps to turning their own lives around.

Gethin had a unique approach to his delivery, he was entertaining and humorous yet still able to tailor his message to suit both staff and residents in a way that everyone could understand.

I took Gethin on a tour of some of our workshops and he appeared genuinely interested in the work we do here at Guys Marsh.  He was approachable to all residents that he met and more than happy to have a chat and tell them about himself.

We are looking forward to welcoming Gethin back here soon.

HMP Warren Hill

Matthew Deal   – Head of Reducing Re-Offending

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Gethin Jones was very professional, appropriate, approachable and seem to connect well with the residents that attended his “Unlocking the potential” inspirational talk.

Gethin explained his early troubles in life and how he ended up prison and how he managed to turn his life around into something positive and rewarding.

It seemed to me that Gethin managed to make our residents reflect on their own lives and help them believe in themselves to progress forward.

Our Residents thanked him thoroughly and gave him a loud cheer at the end and all made a point of talking to him and thanking him for his time.

From my point of view it proves that whatever your background, historic events and negative views that anyone can change and make a real go in life.

Please see below some comments from residents:

P A (Alder)- The talk was very good, very enjoyable and informative. He was geared up to really help people and left contact details so I could contact when I am released.

D W- (Alder)-  Found the talk very informative, and made me think that you have to want to change to give yourself a chance to change. He told his whole story from start to finish.

E P (Oak) – The talk was very inspiring. it was very detailed and gave a good insight in to his life and changes he made.

HMP Stafford

Deputy Governor – Claud Lofters

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I really enjoyed Gethin’s presentation on the subject of unlocking potential so much so that I was late for another meeting. I found Gethin’s personal journey inspirational.  We currently measure re-conviction rates not successes.  Gethin’s story makes what we do here tangible and real.  The phrase I often quote “it’s not the person that we lock up but the person we let out that reduces risk”.  Gethin is an example of this.  What struck me is that his personal journey is also ours in the custodial services.  We must persist in believing everyone has a second, third and as many chances or opportunity to change.

It is hard to believe in something you cannot see.  we need to see beyond the person in front us and see something in a person that even they cannot see or believe exist.  It is so easy to stereotype and write some off.  What Gethin’s experience demonstrated is that we are a people organisation looking after people.  We all live complex lives to a degree and our choices can be down to marginal decisions we make or the influence of one good person.  We need to be that good influence and that voice of wisdom that there is a different path to follow.

HMP Bullingdon

Governor Ian Blakeman

Gethin Jones 4Gethin’s talk was lively, enthusiastic, funny but very much got the point across that it is people that can have an impact on others.  People were gripped by what Gethin was saying and it was one of the best staff turn outs to a staff meeting we have had in recent times.

The impact was great.  Lots of people were talking about it after the event.  The men I spoke to that came to the afternoon all said how impressed and worthwhile it was to have attended.

Staff said

‘We’ve heard other people speak, Gethin’s talk was different.  It was about what we can do as people, not process or what skills are on offer, just how having the time, empathy and thoughtfulness from people can make all the difference to someone’s lives.’

The men 

‘It was thoroughly worthwhile coming to Gethin’s talk, I know what I need to do now and I am focused on getting out of prison and making something from my life,’

HMP Woodhill

Staff and Residents

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We  first noticed Unlocking Potential when Gethin liked a Twitter post about HMP Woodhill, so I thought I’d see what it was about, intrigued I Direct Messaged Gethin, getting a prompt response, a few emails and phone calls later we had him Booked In for June 18th .

I was given lots of information on what Gethin had done at other prisons and was confident that both staff and the men in our custody would benefit . Gethin’s relaxed, relatable style of delivery was perfect – his message is simple but profound.

For me the best words to describe Gethin visit come from one of our men, Paul , “I wasn’t sure if he’d get the respect when he started but he definitely had it at the end”. Paul has been with us on numerous occasions, but with just one visit the impact was there he wants to stay in touch with Gethin and keep progressing .

Other men mentioned  – “we were talking about it as we walked back to the Wing , and are still talking about it now.” –  “when’s he coming back, we want others to hear what he has to say.”

Personally I’ve never seen a speaker have so much impact and I know that at HMP Woodhill we really want as many return visits as Gethin can do , both for the men and the staff .

HMP Liverpool

Andy Laidlaw Head of Reducing Re-offending

0I am Prison Governor and have worked for the Prison Service for over 20 years.

I have known Gethin for a few years having met him at various Prison Reform events. I was aware of his work but had never actually seen him address an audience until recently.

I have to say it was one of the most effective deliveries I have seen. Gethin delivered his ‘Seeds of Belief’ Presentation to a group of Prison staff and then later to prisoners.
He ‘spoke’ to his audience, changing the content and style of delivery to suit the people he was speaking to and he held their attention with apparent ease.

He was both entertaining and serious in equal measure. He had his audience switching from gasps to laughter as he told his very personal but poignant life story.

He is a true inspiration and the definitive Motivational Speaker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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