Earlier this month, Anita Frost (founder of Curricula & Co) and Rebekah Billingham (blogger) took a trip to Askham Grange, a low-security women’s prison in Yorkshire to speak to some of the residents about life goals and aspirations. In this second installment of the series about the trip, we share some of the ways we were inspired by such a strong and resilient group of women.
Anita and Rebekah’s trip to HMP Askham Grange
After our tour, a number of ladies joined us in one of the classrooms. We introduced ourselves, and Anita asked everyone to take it in turns telling everyone their name, and what their life goals were. For me, this was the most fascinating part of the trip. It amazed me how determined and resilient these people still were after having been through so many challenges.
So many of them had decided to use their time inside to better themselves and work on leaving stronger than they were when they came in. One lady used the phrase ‘gap year’ to describe her time at Askham Grange...an opportunity instead of a punishment. A chance to really focus on growing herself. So many of their dreams were very big, but they seemed to be taking their first small steps very seriously.
I noticed that there was a real strength in their togetherness as a supportive community. I noticed that they had developed tight knit friendships with each other that sustained morale in a beautiful way.
When Anita spoke, she shared her own story of how she got to where she is today, and all of the things she gained from the times when she had to learn what was not right for her, on the way to finding her perfect fit as an entrepreneur. She shared her words in a highly relatable and down to earth way, but also in a way that encouraged and uplifted.
I spoke for ten minutes, and explained briefly what I do with Curricula and Co, and what I do as a full time job. I told them about the work I do creating content for this blog, and about some of the things that have inspired me most of all about the successful people I have written about.
The main takeaway I get from writing these inspiring stories is the countless people who have started from rock bottom, and failed so many times before finding the success they are reknowned for. This takes away the pressure to be perfect, but also gives an encouraging push to keep working and persevering through the toughest obstacles and having the courage to keep trying again. I told the ladies a few small tips that I used to get me through some tough times, such as gratitude, and getting around positive people.
At the end of the session, we had a chance to chat to some of the ladies and their mentors for a bit before we left. I was humbled at their responses, and how they related on a personal level. Most of all, they appreciated our honesty and vulnerability. And that was the main thing that inspired me about this amazing group of women.
We came with the aim to inspire, and we left possibly more inspired by them than they were by us!