I really appreciate every minute of it
“I was on remand for a year in Hydebank Wood College and Women’s Prison, and that year I got the help I needed. It was life-saving, I can only be thankful that I had the arts to help me through it and to give me a foundation to recovery.”
I took part in a range of classes from arts and crafts, music, creative writing, pottery, poetry and I was also a member of the in-house choir, Voices of Release. Participating in these programmes helped me to settle down to life in prison, those experiences shaped me, actually saved me. I don’t think I would be the person I am now without having been in Hydebank, the things I learnt in there I never got a chance to learn anywhere else. I learnt to put my heart into the arts, to admire myself for the things I made and for being strong.
When I was released from Hydebank I wanted to increase my skill set and use the arts as tool for communicating with my children. I wanted to learn more about the community: the arts community in Belfast. I felt I was in a good place and wanted to sustain that so I hoped PAF’s arts mentoring programme would help. I was delighted to be matched with my mentor Patricia, she was so versatile; she knew so much about different kinds of art. We would talk about my experiences, we had a mutual understanding not to go too far into that because obviously I didn’t want our time together to become a counselling session, but just something to draw on.