Jailed mum praised for turning life round

Straightened out: Natasha Watkins of Belgray Lettings with MP Rosie Winterton.            Picture: Alan Janaszek.
Straightened out: Natasha Watkins of Belgray Lettings with MP Rosie Winterton. Picture: Alan Janaszek.

A REFORMED former criminal is being hailed as a Doncaster success story after turning her life around with help from a charity.

Bosses at Platform 51 on Cleveland Street, Doncaster, said Natasha Watkins fell through its doors drunk and just out of prison after 20 previous custodial sentences four years ago

But last month she landed her dream job when when she joined Belgray Property Management as an office administrator.

She is regarded as a great success by the charity, which yesterday introduced her to Doncaster MP Rosie Winterton to show her how their scheme is working.

Platform 51 is part of the YWCA set up to help women with problems get their lives back under control.

Natasha said she had spent much of her life in and out of the criminal justice system.

She has been arrested 64 times and convicted and locked up 20 times.

Platform 51 provided her with counselling and advice, and last year the mum was offered six months training as a community researcher.

She refused to give up the search for a job, impressing Belgray boss Belinda Grashion who met Natasha at an event co-sponsored by Platform 51.

Joyce Foster, Platform 51’s head of innovation and enterprise, said: “Natasha’s story is proof positive that the impossible is always possible with the right ingredients and openness.

“We saw Natasha come through our doors in 2007 drunk, vulnerable and just out of prison. Four years on, we are delighted that our intensive and transformational support work alongside Natasha’s own personal determination and courage has paid off and has allowed her to reach her true potential.”

Ms Grashion said: “I was impressed and moved by her story and her determination to carry on regardless.

“Her spirit shone through and she had a ‘will do’ attitude. She had many skills that she did not appreciate in herself and I could clearly see these.”