Two practitioners from MTC have been announced as finalists for the HMPPS Probation Awards. Audrey Asamoah, Restorative Practice Manager from London CRC is a Finalist for the Supporting Victims Award, and Katie Hopkins, Programmes and Interventions Manager at Thames Valley CRC, is a finalist for the Change and Innovation Award.
Audrey Asamoah for Supporting Victims
Audrey Asamoah has been nominated for her exceptional work in Restorative Practice. Her nomination highlighted her work in both Restorative Justice conferences where her work has stretched far outside office hours, including managing difficult situations at unusual hours, and her work in Restorative Practice as she pioneered the female version of the Restorative Practice ‘Making Amends’ group. Her work has involved dealing with high-risk offenders, and helping victims through exceptionally emotional and challenging circumstances.
Speaking of her nomination, Audrey said ‘I can’t quite believe that I am a finalist as restorative work relies on co-working and others have contributed significantly.’ She discussed the power of Restorative Practice work, regarding the female Making Amends groups, saying ‘all the women suffer from deep guilt and shame. They feel there is no one or very few people they can speak with who will listen without judgement and feedback honestly – all of them have been victims too and it is important we remember this while we are supervising them as perpetrators.’
David Hood, Managing Director, said that ‘collected and serene, Audrey is passionate about her work without being loud. And yet the work she has done over the past years has rendered some of the most astonishing and powerful results in London CRC’s Restorative Practice unit. This is a very deserved recognition of her exceptional work.’
Audrey’s colleague Liz Dixon added that ‘Audrey has so little ego that it means the work is very good. She has an inbuilt Duracell battery – she carries on and she keeps going. We are so very proud of her – her output is outstanding and she does everything with such good grace.’
Katie Hopkins for Change and Innovation
Katie Hopkins has been nominated for her excellent work in Programmes and Interventions. Her work in writing and rolling out the programme Fostering Identity, Resilience and Strength (FIRS) has been exceptional, and has had a huge impact within a short space of time. Focusing on helping male service users understand their own identity, the programme has been embraced by practitioners both as a standalone and as a bolt-on course for additional programmes. Katie’s work has been noted for its ambition, its understanding of risk and the ability to roll it out across multiple teams.
Speaking of her nomination, Katie said ‘I feel a bit embarrassed – it’s just me doing my thing.’ But speaking of FIRS, Katie says ‘this is what all service users need. The vision would be for something like this to be part of a mental health curriculum. You’ve got to make a good relationship with yourself before anything else.’
Katie adds that ‘I wouldn’t have had the space to create had it not been for such a supportive team. This is a real validation for anyone who thinks they have an idea to help service users – you can do it and MTC will back you up and let you innovate. It’s really important in the new world we’re going into to have that innovation.’
David Hood said that ‘Katie has had a focused and powerful journey to this point and she knows that simply by getting service users to understand their own worth and agency in the world, she is planting seeds for long-term real change. She thoroughly deserves this success.’
Head of Operations for North Thames Valley, Lou Everatt, added that ‘Katie is a deserved finalist. Her work has been innovative and exciting, and she always has one eye on the future. I’m proud to see her being recognised nationally for her superb work!’
Awards Ceremony 2020
The awards ceremony has been moved from its usual position in July owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, and will be rescheduled later this year.
The work done in organisations like ours is often challenging, precise and sometimes unseen. Through award ceremonies like this and our own MTC Transforming Lives, we get to see some of the exceptional achievements that have been made by people working passionately across the justice sector. We hope that you will join us in wishing all four of our nominees congratulations for their nominations, and wishing Audrey and Katie the very best of luck!