Tragedy inspires mum to set up offenders’ charity

A mum who lost her teenage son is forging ahead with Fife-wide charity plans aimed at pulling people out of a life of crime.
Josee Scott, who lives in Dalgety Bay, established Freedom Unlimited Enterprises six years ago to offer employability skills to ex-offenders.
The charity also works with prisoners at HMP Glenochil and HMP YOI Polmont by delivering a transformational life coaching course that aims to help people rehabilitate and desist from re-offending.
Josee said: “I lost my son Bobby in 2006 when he was just 17 years old. We had moved to Leith and he fell in with a ‘wrong’ crowd, stole a bike and crashed it.
“When Bobby died these boys and girls rallied to support our family, shattering any preconceptions I had of them.
“I didn’t understand before then but quickly learned that the vast majority of people who become involved in criminal justice services typically come from impoverished backgrounds.
“According to research, 80 per cent of people in prison come from socially deprived areas – you can’t argue with that.”
In recent years, inspired by her son, Josee started to think of ways she could actively help people caught up in a cycle of re-offending.
She gave up a career in retail management – a move she described as a “leap of faith” – and established Freedom Unlimited Enterprises.
Josee said: “The benefits of what I provide through wood workshops here in Dalgety Bay and art therapy in prisons is a change of attitude which helps people onto a positive path.
“Giving them hope for their future, especially repeat offenders who have been in and out of prison all their lives.
“They believe that who they are is who they’ve become. That’s not the case and through these courses they take steps toward a different future.
“That’s what we are all about.”
Josee added: “Not everyone is a success story but when you see that change happening you think: if this is the only I person I’ve helped, it’s worth it.”
So far Freedom Unlimited Enterprises has helped over 100 people but Josee aims to expand the charity and invited Lesley Laird MP to visit and learn more.
Lesley said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Josee and learn why she is so passionate about making this amazing project such a success.
“It’s humbling and inspiring when brave individuals suffer personal tragedy and go on to use that experience to help others avoid a similar fate.
“It can be so easy for people to become trapped in a cycle of crime but Freedom Unlimited Enterprises offers people a vital opportunity to build the confidence to break that pattern and pursue a different future.
“I wish Josee all the best in her future endeavours.”
Josee is seeking to generate links with a variety of local organisations throughout Fife, including schools, and would welcome enquiries. Contact josee@freedomue.org
Pictured (l-r) Kim McKenzie, volunteer, Lesley Laird MP, Mark Douglas, session worker, Josee Scott, director.