Journeys with Convictions Programme

Journeys with Convictions Programme

17 Feb 2015 - By Stephen McIlwaine

Funding has been allocated to the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) to support NIACRO in delivering ‘Journey’s with Convictions’ programmes. The programme is designed for women to support progression and resettlement across NI.

BURC and NIACRO together have estabilished a need for Women on Day Release or on Probation to engage in a participant-led Social Inclusion and Personal Development programme that contains strategies to support reintegration and progression routes. 

The Aims of Journeys of Conviction are:

- Inspire and promote self-esteem

- Inspire motivation and confidence

- Develop life skills

- Develop resilience

- Goal Setting and supporting progression of participants

Evaluation has shown significant increase in confidence (8% - 72%) and ability to engage in further progression routes that they previously had considered unattainable

Programme Outline

Inspire and promote self-esteem

Participants suffer from personalised barriers (often related to shame/stigma), don’t see potential in themselves and are highly introverted. Substance abuse is common and participants are in cycles of negative behaviour.

Peer mentoring shall empower each individual. Exercises, scenarios, role-plays and drama exercises shall promote self-esteem.

Inspire motivation and confidence

Participants need motivation and confidence to progress onto further programmes and additional opportunities.  Currently women do not feel confident to progress onto offered training and employability programmes.

Participants shall benefit from Reflective sessions, inspirational cv’s, being pushed beyond comfort zones, being supported to realise their inner capability and by setting small achievable goals. Sessions delivered by a female ex-prisoner shall inspire.

Develop life skills

Poor body language, inability to deal with emotions, reactive rather than proactive and extremely poor communication skills inhibit participants from progressing.

Through exercises participants shall consider how they deal with emotions and think about the effect of positive and negative comments.  They shall consider emotions and reactions that they would like to change.

Develop resilience

Participants present with inability to deal with change, dilemmas or challenges. Arguments or problems lead to emotional reactions and giving up.  This leads to cycles of failure.

Considering how to use life skills in a range of scenarios shall develop the ability deal with and ask for or source support. Sharing positive responses to situations, creating, documenting and disseminating models of practice and developing capacity through Peer Mentoring.

Goal Setting and supporting progression

Participants have chaotic lifestyles and no capacity to set medium or long term goals.  This leads to a cycle of frustration.

Participants supported to understand how to think and work beyond immediate circumstances and create a Personal Plan for progression. Employability will increase through accreditation. Progressing through volunteering or training shall reduce alienation and build confidence.

For more information on the Programme contact the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre website:

or NIACRO website:

Visit the Volunteer Now website