Governor Dr Jamie Bennett
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.
Governor Ian Blakeman
Gethin’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.
‘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.’
‘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,’
Staff and Residents
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 .
Head of Reducing Re-offending
I 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.
Programme Manager and Prison Lead for Rehab Culture
Some 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.
Director of London and Thames Valley Prisons Group
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.
Mike Trace, CEO, The Forward Trust
Gethin spoke at Forward’s staff conference and went down a storm. He spoke from the heart and appealed strongly to our practitioner audience who work in prison day in day out to support those with addiction problems.
The audience was energised and enlightened by his talk. Gethin is a gifted communicator, mixing passion, humour and good sense and I recommend him highly
Centre Director – John Pounds Community Trust
After meeting with Gethin it was clear he ‘got us’ as a Business and Individuals. I could see the Programme would not be off the shelf, but shaped for the team’s needs. Gethin’s Professional background had clearly given him a good understanding of various teams’ dynamics and an understanding of the pressures I was experiencing.
Planned with the business in mind, at a time and place that best suited us which helped achieve successful outcomes for all. ‘Staying in touch’ by follow up emails promoting thought into action, worked well.
The Team are talking about the Programme with each other and trying to implement positive change. Individuals are more positive in themselves and when supporting their colleagues. Individuals have a more positive approach when dealing with problems and the day to day pressures of their role.
Chief Executive and Founder Unlocked
Gethin grasped the aims of the organisation, the significance of the event and the audience very quickly. As such, we were able to discuss his ideas around appropriate content from very early in our communications. He was the first Speaker of the evening and it was pitched at the perfect level for the audience and set the tone for the remainder of the event. The Speakers following referred to Gethin’s speech for comparison points. His playful approach did not distract from the serious and thought provoking elements of Gethin’s story. It did, however, create a more relaxed and personable environment for the audience to fully understand Gethin’s transformation path.
Chief Executive Officer – Clinks
Gethin was a pleasure to work with throughout the process. We were unable initially to accommodate his full Talk in our Programme, but he developed an input to suit what we needed. He met the Brief brilliantly, developing an inspiring short Input as part of a Panel, drawing on his personal and professional experience.
Gethin is an engaging Speaker. His delivery is incredibly warm, accessible and welcoming. He captured the audience and is easy to listen to. He provides an insight into his personal and working life, which he makes available to others to learn from.
His input on the Day and his ability to breathe such life into our Programme was really well received. Delegates to our Conference remarked specifically on the Panel Session in which Gethin participated.
Delegate feedback included “Honest and inspiring – great to hear the individual panel member’s personal journey and coping strategies”, “Good interesting discussion, gave me hope.”
Programme Manager, The Forgiveness Project
To hear Gethin speak, is to realise the incredible journey another human being takes through a life that presents such difficulty, and yet who shows the immense resilience to choose a different way of living.
Gethin spoke of where new seeds were able to be planted in his life and where they couldn’t be. In reference to his life in prison he said, “how can you plant seeds within contaminated soil?”. This powerful question has stayed with me as I ask this of myself and of all the work I deliver within the prison system.
Gethin illustrated so powerfully how seeds began to be planted by individual people who believed in him, by those who kept by his side and by those who didn’t waiver in their belief that he had the strength to change and with this, Gethin’s resilience and courage began on his journey of change.
Gethin’s Story speaks of what it truly is to be human and how the internal resilience comes to show its true strength within all the suffering and struggles that life presented to him.
Head of Operations at Learning Links (southern) Ltd
Operations Manager, Solent Jobs Programme at Southampton City Council
Gethin had delivered a ‘Seeds of Belief’ Development Programme to our Clients, and due to the success of this Programme, I asked Gethin to deliver his ‘Art of Communication’ Workshop to the Support Workers. These was a mixture of Staff from Portsmouth City Council, The Wheatsheaf Trust and Southhampton City Council.
Below are a selection of Comments from Delegates:
‘I found Gethin a very inspirational man and the facilitator of an excellent Workshop. It really made you think about how you communicate with clients and how different approaches / changing approaches can benefit your working relationship with a client to gain the best possible outcome for them.’
‘Gethin’s personal story – though extreme – was fascinating. The part of the Training I found most useful was probably the Transactional Analysis. It made me reflect on my own style of practice when working with clients.’
‘Gethin clearly knew his subject and his Delivery was engaging.’
‘Yesterday’s training was really enjoyable and I feel that we covered the objectives that were set at the beginning, of raising awareness. It was eye opening and I can definitely find myself referring back to certain sections to make sure I am more effective with my Delivery.
Service Leader Portsmouth City Council
Gethin had an unstructured Brief, however as he knows the work the Team carry out, he was able to develop an empowering workshop that allowed practitioners to reflect on their practice and see things from another perspective.
Gethin listened to the brief and understood the work the team carry out on a daily basis. With this information he was developed an empowering workshop that allowed practitioners to reflect on their practice and see things from another perspective.
The session was both relaxed and informative, and the style allowed for free thinking and sharing of ideas. ‘Working with’ to develop ideas, rather than being ‘lectured’.
In discussion with the Team, they really liked the Presentation and felt it enhanced their Learning. Some Practitioners felt is enabled them to move away from the rescuing and creating dependency mode and enabling their young people to seek solutions with support, rather than be provided with the answers.
The session offered great value and expressed how ‘one size does not fit all’ – ‘let’s start looking at the bigger picture and remember change is possible, and keep persevering’.
Deputy Director of Children’s Services Portsmouth City Council
Gethin’s Workshop fully met the Brief. It was particularly useful to revisit Engaging for Change and Motivation for Change
The content was interesting. It used personal story telling, which is meaningful and inspiring. The Workshop allowed the Team to revisit how they are working with complexity from a different perspective & offered some valuable nuggets of creativity, intensity & persistence.