Shirley Community Chaplaincy

This is a relatively new charitable organisation which works in and around Newcastle. It aims to provide mentoring support to prisoners on release from prison, to help them build a new life, and prevent re-offending. It focuses on long-serving prisoners, particularly those who no family, or who have lost contact with their families. People are referred from prison chaplains and prison officers to the scheme.

£4,000 was awarded to the organisation in June 2015, as a contribution towards the part-time Community Chaplain post. The worker meets people as they are released, and works with them to build a supportive network in the community. The aim is also to set up a self-help group for ex-offenders who have successfully settled into the community to help and support others as they are released.

Sussex Prisoners’ Families

This organisation was set up in 2013 to support families in Brighton, West and East Sussex to cope with the emotional and practical issues which can arise when a family member is imprisoned. Help is available at the earliest opportunity through direct contact at court, and as they progress through the criminal justice system. Sussex Prisoners’ Families provides information, advice and guidance and signposting to local community-based services to en-sure families can access the help and support they need.

£7,000 was offered to this organisation at the June 2015 meeting of Trustees. The funding will contribute towards salary costs of a Court Family Support and Outreach Worker, and some associated costs. This role will recruit, train and supervise volunteers, provide addi-tional support to referrals made by court volunteers, and access further opportunities to de-velop the scheme further.

Crime to Christ Charitable Trust

Crime to Christ Charitable Trust is a Northampton-based charity which offers practical and pastoral support to offenders and ex-offenders. It aims to give people support to enable them to turn their lives around, move away from crime, and also to rebuild relationships with families. It runs a number of projects: a resettlement scheme working with offenders prior to release; a mentoring scheme with young offenders and their families; a project working with women receiving community orders; and prevention programmes in local schools.

A £10,450 single grant was made to this charity in February 2015. Funding is towards the Prison Work project, which expects to support 30 offenders and their families in Northamptonshire over the year. The overall aim is to reduce re-offending through offering mentoring and one-to-one support as people leave prison and resettle back into the community.

Prison Fellowship Northern Ireland

Affiliated to Prison Fellowship International, this charity works in and around the three prisons in Northern Ireland. It challenges people’s behaviour to prevent re-offending, runs preventative programmes and the Sycamore Tree restorative justice programme, and works with families of those incarcerated.

The Allen Lane Foundation awarded £10,000 funding, split equally over two years in February 2015. The grant is specifically for support work with women prisoners at Hydebank Wood, including life-skills workshops, restorative interventions, and mental health support. The aim is to support vulnerable women, improve their mental health, and make a positive improvement on their lives, leading to reduced offending.

Medway & Swale Advocacy Partnership

This charity offers advocacy services to a range of vulnerable groups of people including people in hospital, people with mental health issues, BME groups, and people who are in prisons. Medway & Swale Advocacy Partnership is based in Kent with offices in Strood and Sittingbourne.

Through the provision of advocacy for/with people in prison, the charity recognised that on release, huge barriers and issues remain for individuals which mean they often return to crime. It applied for funding to the Foundation to extend its services to people as they leave prison, and was awarded £7,722 in June 2014 towards setting this up. The anticipation is that through the two-day-a-week post, the service will provide advocacy support and assistance to around 500 people a year.

Prisoners’ Penfriends

Prisoners’ Penfriends works closely with the Prison Service to enable people in prison to write safely to volunteer correspondents in the community. This reduces the isolation of those prisoners who otherwise have little or no support from the outside world – and assists in their rehabilitation back into society.

In February 2014 the Foundation granted £1,645 to extend the service nationally to sex offenders. The grant covers training and travel costs to ensure volunteer correspondents are fully trained and supported.