Novus in Custody Visually-impaired 'Henry' Learns Letter Writing

About the project

Novus staff at HMP Ford joined forces with a multi-disciplinary team to support ‘Henry’ who was struggling with the circumstances in which he found himself.  His future prospects and the potential that he would one day completely lose his eye sight made him very anxious.

Complementing support from the, Sussex Health Partnership Trust, the prisons’ healthcare provider, and the other prison partnership members, Novus stepped in to assist Henry with educational support.

With no previous IT ability or qualifications and his medical problem at an advanced stage, the prospect of learning computer skills and writing letters was unimaginable, and Henry felt such cathartic experiences were beyond him.

Henry is being supported by Social Care Services from West Sussex County Council and has been referred to the Sensory team in the county where he is due to be released, He has also been put in touch with charities that can offer support for his released and he has been able to make supported local visits to look at visual aids.


The Story

The confident, focused and motivated man that Henry is today would definitely afford himself a grin when reflecting on the remarkable progress he has made since learning IT skills with Novus. He is now able to navigate his way around computer programs and, crucially, he can write letters to relevant authorities regarding housing and support upon release, as he is due to leave prison this year. He was convinced to take part in the studies by prison staff and the peer mentor, and his work has flourished.

Henry says: “Before I started my Novus studies, all I could do was switch on a laptop. With the help of Aleta, my Functional Skills team leader, and the special keyboard and widescreen, I could see what I was doing on the computer and I could write letters. Having the ability to write a letter is a big deal for me because it is a form of communication which previously wasn’t possible. I still have a lot to learn but the good thing is, I am looking forward to that."

I am very pleased that Novus was able to complement the partnership team here at HMP Ford so effectively and deliver such outstanding results so quickly.

HMP Ford’s Governor John Wilson

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