Over the last few years the Big Lottery Fund has funded a number of projects all of which provide a wide range of support to different groups of ex-offenders with the aim of helping them make the transition back to society and to help break the cycle of offending.
To understand how our funding is making a difference last year, we commissioned an independent report into 12 Big Lottery Fund supported projects working with offenders to pull out highlights from our varying approaches across the UK.
We know offenders, particularly those with a history of re-offending, have multiple and complex needs and research indicates that institutionalism amongst persistent re-offenders results in a sense of hopelessness and fatalism about their inability to change.
Our report was carried out by Arrivo Consulting and found projects reported that some local services were unable or unwilling to respond with timescales which were often critical for ex-offenders (for example, at the point of release) and that our funded projects were helping to address.
In addition key challenges lie in the inability to access key services at these critical stages can create trigger points for ex-offenders which can push them towards crises and possibly result in reoffending and for persistent offenders there can be a loss of hope and belief in themselves and their capacity to change.
One of the Scottish projects featured in the report is the Glasgow based Cornerstone Community Care’s Positive Tracks project which received £669,769 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities programme in March 2012. Positive Tracks, supports people with learning difficulties in the North and West of Scotland who are leaving prison.
Director of Corporate Relations & Fundraising, Lisa Duthie, said, “Our service is totally person centred and provides a tailored level of support that each individual requires. This could include basic living skills, budgeting and personal hygiene. Through time and more support they can move on to independent living skills including training, further education or employment. There are no set timescales as how long people can receive our help and it helps to build a lasting relationship, based on trust, with our support workers.”
The Arrivo report suggests a model evaluation framework which could be used by the Fund in future so we can more easily share our learning with others and identify those approaches which have the greatest impact.
In the meantime .our support to projects like Positive Tracks is making a life changing difference to individuals. As one service user explains, “I have never received this level of support before. If I had, my life would have been so different”.
For more information and to read the research click here.