Mark French’s Story: New start, new life.

The beauty of Lady Val’s multi-layered Networks is that she is able to weave them together to achieve so much more.

The story below shows the work between The Robin Corbett Award and the Corbett Network. And, this wouldn’t have been possible, without the worthy donations made from this Professional Women’s Network.

In 2020, Lady Val launched the Growth Fund- a further opportunity to award funds to worthy enterprises, projects and charities looking to enhance the lives of returning citizens, back into society. With a focus on mental health, job recruitment and rehabilitation, we set out on a mission to find the best independent, smaller enterprises that could benefit from a £10,000 contribution to their great work.

The first recipient of the Growth Fund was Emma Freivogel, Founder at Radical Recruit. Her enterprise bridges the gap between disadvantaged job seekers and the business world. In the nine months of their existence, Radical Recruit have placed 47 people released from prison into permanent employment and was our unanimous choice.
We proudly awarded Emma and Radical Recruitment £10,000 to further grow and develop her enterprise.

“I am chuffed mate! £10k goes a long way – it’s three months operating costs and we are aiming to get 15 more ex-offenders into work using the dosh so I am delighted!” – Emma Freivogel

Here is just one story, of how Emma was able to help. Meet Mark French and take a moment to read his story.

Background: Mark was made redundant when, after 25 years’ service with a firm, they discovered a conviction on his record, from when he was in his early 20’s. Mark hadn’t disclosed this at the time of being hired. But, on learning about the conviction, he was promptly dismissed.

“Dear Lady Val, Only 7 months ago. I wrote to you in desperation.  At that point I had been job searching for 6 months with no success and even in my wildest imagination I could not have hoped to be where I am today.

Through the Corbett Network , Heather Philips (CEO Beating Time) introduced me to  a solicitor Jon Hayes and Richard (Founder) at Clean Slate put me in touch with the force of human nature that is Emma Freivogel (Founder) at Radical Recruit.

From those introductions, Jon has been a constant mentor (and still is) who helps me overcome obstacles in my path.  The work that Emma and the team do is life-changing. She convinced me to start up my own business and after much nudging, I spoke with her contact, Lindsay Healy of Aria Grace Law who offered help with my proposal/pitch document resulting in Lindsay becoming the first client of JMF Billing Services!  A game-changing moment.

Emma then introduced me to Andy Wansell of YM&U Group and  I contacted him in early August  to update him. The timing could not have been more opportune because I’ve been awarded a project that will last up to 2 years with YM&U.

It has been 13 months since my journey began from such a down place.  There were days when it seemed everything was conspiring against me.  I have learnt many life lessons and not only found strength in new people who I feel privileged to know and call friends.

I hope my story gives hope and inspiration to anyone else who may find themselves in a similar position, there are good people out there  – like the Corbett Network – who can and will help, more importantly, never  give up. I am proof of that.”

If you feel you could donate further to our worthy causes, then we welcome your kind contributions wholeheartedly.
Donate now.

Contribute to our Blog

Do you have something to say? Then we want to hear from you!

Book onto our next

Join us for our next great speaker event and workshop!

Follow us on
Social Media

Stay in the loop and be part of the conversation.

Get In Touch.

Get all the latest news & advice, direct to your inbox!

Lady Val’s Professional Women’s Network, The Robin Corbett Award and The Corbett Network are trading names of The Corbett Foundation
registered not-for-profit Limited by Guarantee Company, (Social Enterprise) No:11846765 (UK)
Email: Web: