Our History

The team is based on professional counsellors with many years experience of working in prisons with prisoners with addiction problems and every member of the team is either in recovery or had direct family experience of addiction. Together they have several decades of recovery.

The team also includes ex-offenders who are in recovery and are committed to sharing their experience with others both in prison and on release.

What Drives Us

Our Mission

NewConnections empowers prisoners and helps them prepare for their release by giving them hope and belief in their own ability to live free from crime and drugs.

We are convinced that ex-offenders can develop a passion for their own recovery and that they are able to transform their lives into ones that are happy, fulfilling and which contribute to those around them.

Our aim is to use all our resources to help achieve positive outcomes for all those who we work with within the criminal justice system and outside of it.



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NewConnections believes that everyone has the right and the ability to fulfill their potential. Those dreams, that potential cannot become real while a life is blighted by addiction, depression, crime and imprisonment. Our aim is to help prisoners find the way to become ex-offenders capable of making the transformational change necessary to live very different lives.

Addiction, depression and anxiety, imprisonment are all hugely isolating and men and women often lose the ability to ask for help or the knowledge of where to find positive support and guidance. NewConnections aims to provide practical help with housing but also therapeutic support, which may be residential rehabilitation, and assistance with training, volunteering, preparation for work and finding work.



Many ex-offenders leave prison still isolated and without social or professional support. We provide that support through continuity of therapeutic support inside and outside prison from our counselling and mentoring staff. Our team of volunteers, most of whom have personal experience of addiction, prison or both are available to all our clients. Finally we urge all our clients to become actively involved in fellowships like AA, NA and others where they find shared experience as well as guidance and support.



EDward baillie

Co Founder

Edward is an experienced addictions counsellor and therapist with several years experience working full time in four different UK prisons and supporting ex-offenders after their release.

He has over a decade’s experience of working within self help groups supporting his own and others’ recoveries, himself being sober since November 2006. He is passionate about recovery and about supporting ex-offenders to overcome the problems they have faced in their lives and go on to fulfil their potential.

Edward has a B.A.(Hons) degree in Sociology as well as considerable training and experience in counselling. His role is lead and share his inspiration but in particular to work directly with clients both inside prison and after release.

Markkus Trew


Markkus is a qualified experienced Counsellor/Psychotherapist with extensive experience in Senior Management leading strategy and operations in addiction rehabilitation treatment centres in North Somerset. Markkus is a also a director and operations manager of The Sober Place, a third stage recovery house offering wrap around addiction recovery support for people in recovery. Markkus also runs and his own private practice counselling service where he works individually with clients on various life issues and struggles. Markkus is passionate about creating opportunities for people whose lives may have been blighted
by addiction and various other issues believing that, given the right opportunities, offering compassion, kindness, understanding and empathy, anybody can change and become a productive member of society with a purpose to life. Markkus also holds a diploma in leadership and management has accredited professional registration with the National Counselling Society (NCS) and a Registered member of the BACP. Markkus’ previous career is in property – trained as a surveyor and holds a degree in estates management that enables him to balance his therapeutic knowledge and skills with a commercial acuity.

Gary charles

Co Founder

Gary is a former Premier League footballer who played for many UK clubs and was a full England International. After retiring from professional football, Gary developed a career in football coaching and recruitment.

Gary is a qualified Counsellor who has worked as a consultant at a leading residential therapy centre.  Gary is a recovering alcoholic with extensive experience and knowledge of the pressures and anxieties that come with addiction. Gary has worked with professional athletes for some years and he has now extended his work to be in prisons. Gary’s commitment to supporting prisoners began following several periods of imprisonment during his addiction. His recovery began during his final period in custody and has been continuous since his release in 2007 and he now shares his experience as a motivational speaker and runs his own company.




Caroline has a consultancy business (www.present-future.co.uk ) delivering strategic, systemic ccnstellation and education services across various sectors. .  She holds an Master of Philosophy, a Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and a Diploma in Strategy and Innovation all from the University of Oxford.  She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and an Associate of the Centre for Systemic Constellations.  She serves as a Board member of the oldest and most experienced addiction treatment centre in the UK.  Caroline’s present work includes lecturing for the University of Oxford and for Oxford Brookes University, delivering strategic and therapeutic services to the only addiction recovery rehab in the UK exclusively for veterans of the armed forces, providing one-to-one and family therapy, and facilitating her own workshops for personal growth and wellbeing.  Caroline has over 30 years working with addiction and has acquired in-depth knowledge of what works for abstinence-based recovery.  She worked for 11 years compiling, implementing and delivering abstinence-based addiction recovery programmes in prisons and she is passionate for supporting people to challenge their past, turn their lives around and find new, pro-social, responsible, successful ways of living and enjoying life.




If you would like to keep updated with the work we are doing, who we are working with and stories from ex-offenders that we work with, register below. If you have any questions you can always email us at info@newconnections.org.uk

Call us: 0208 871 4407