Meet Leanne, our new personal trainer. She’s working with Michelle at Handcrafted Women on our new exercise programme: working to support other women towards health, addiction recovery and wholeness through exercise. Leanne is, without sounding like a trite Instagram post, a complete inspiration. In the three months since she’s left prison, she’s built a successful business offering personal training, meal plans and nutritional advice as well as being asked to speak at events, and to write on health and fitness for a magazine and newspaper.
I first met Leanne because I was her teacher on an art course in prison, designing and making greetings cards. In the four years since, I’ve been able to hear about her journey with the brilliant charity Junction 42 and meet up with her on the other side of the gate.
Over the last few months, the team at the Handcrafted kitchen in Chester Le Street have been able to partner with Leanne to provide space for her new business and she became a mentor with us when the new classes started.
Last week I visited the women’s exercise class and can genuinely say that I was ‘schooled’. Four days later, I was still limping up stairs. But the feeling of gratitude lasted longer than the sore muscles. At Handcrafted, we are in the business of helping people thrive, and never is that more exciting than when we have the privilege of seeing people grow into independence and success and then turn back to share their success with those behind them.
As Edmund Fischer, the Nobel winning biochemist, said: “it is the goal of a teacher to be surpassed by their students”.