In March 2013 New Leaf supported V, a 29 year old Zimbabwean man who had had 12 convictions over the past 2 years. He was referred via the Probation Court team and was visited in prison before release. During his needs assessment he mentioned that he wanted to set up his own business in computer programming and web design and wanted help designing a business plan. He was also subject to an IVA for his debts. Housing was a priority as he was sofa surfing at his sister’s and alcohol use had been a previous issue.

What did New Leaf do?

We matched him with two mentors: a local lead mentor to work on general issues and a specialist business mentor to help him with development of his business ideas.

His lead mentor has been working on housing issues and V has been re-banded by the council from band D to C. They have also been looking into private rental. V has now had an appointment with Catalyst Housing and has a second appointment booked; however, his eligibility will depend on him securing regular income.

His mentor has also encouraged V to sort out his debt and V has visited his bank to start paying his IVA arrangement.

His business mentor has made a referral to the Prince’s Trust for further business support and possible funding and has been invited to attend a Prince’s Trust workshop. His mentor has also been looking at various start up grants. He has helped him get his business ideas focussed and set a plan out with small steps and targets.

As V is currently sofa surfing they meet in cafés with free Wi-Fi to work on the business plan objectives and to review progress made. V has set up a website for his business and is starting work gathering information including his qualification certificates together to form a portfolio.


The New Leaf intervention lasted 3 months, post release. V has not been involved in further criminal activity to date. V reports that he feels much more in control and more confident about himself. He is very grateful for the business mentor input and who he says has helped him such a lot. He is now doing a lot for himself and is moving forward.