Leonie’s ready to give hope to others
11 Oct 2022
Leonie Plumtree is nothing short of inspirational. The 34-year-old has experienced the most harrowing problems; problems that would send most people to the edge. But, pulling on her own strength and determination, she’s proving that it’s possible to overcome those experiences. And it’s this sense of hope which she is keen to pass on as she embarks on a career as a Personal Wellbeing Mentor with Ingeus’s Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS).
Ingeus encourages people like Leonie to share their first-hand experiences of the criminal justice system to benefit other service users. Commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, Ingeus’s CRS provides a host of services to help break the cycle of reoffending – peer mentoring is one of them.
Leonie explains, “The mentoring is a really good way for people to see others, like myself, changing their worlds. It shows that life can improve if you want it to. This is a great way for me to give my experience, strength and hope to someone else.”
Leonie’s life growing up was far from easy. Abused from a young age, she started to self-harm – her way of dealing with her home-life – and endured bullying at school.
“I’ve come from a chaotic childhood, experiencing all kinds of things,” recalls Leonie. “And I tried to live my life with all of these things but it didn’t work out. When I went to college my eating disorder got a real hold of me and that’s when I started to dabble in drugs.”
Continuing to attempt to lead a normal life, Leonie achieved a degree in dance from Hull College. However, as she reached her late twenties, the impact of her upbringing took its toll and her use of drugs spiralled out of control. In 2019 she started a 13-month prison sentence.
Following her sentence, Leonie completed a peer mentoring course and her potential to help others was soon spotted by Ingeus. Encouraged to apply for a paid position, she is now employed as a Personal Wellbeing Mentor in Hull, working to help other services users to return to a normal life.
“I want to be able to walk alongside someone and encourage them, to bring about some hope for them and help them live the best way they can,” says Leonie. “I want to show that there is a different way to walk and that they can turn around at any point – things don’t have to be the same way forever.”