By Angela Green: Funding awarded to five UK prison projects reskilling individuals for a better future.
City & Guilds Foundation is awarding five skills-based projects, working in UK prisons, with funding to help reskill individuals in prison, to support their rehabilitation on release through the £1million Big Idea Fund.
Following an initial shortlist, 11 projects out of 37 applications were invited to submit a full application which was scored by Commissioners including Ian Bickers, London Prisons Group Director, Darren Burns, Head of Timpson Foundation and Roisin Currie, Chief Executive at Greggs PLC.
The five successful projects to receive funding are:
£100,000 awarded to London’s Community Kitchen project: to train 120 ex-offenders to achieve a City & Guilds cookery qualification before securing them employment through the charity’s network of employers, on release.
The programme is implemented through partnerships with prisons, agencies, and organisations that require hospitality workers including London Hilton Group, City of London Corporation and Royal Parks sites.
£70,000 awarded to St Giles for a programme to empower the next generation of youth workers at HMP Drake Hall. This project, located near the town of Eccleshall in Staffordshire, will empower women aged 18-25 to achieve their Level 3 award in Youth Practice. It will also facilitate release on temporary licence (ROTL) placements.
£50,000 awarded to ‘Beating Time’ for its ‘Inside Job’ initiative that helps find jobs for people while they are serving their sentences. This project will benefit over 400 inmates based at HMP Birmingham and Hewell (Redditch); HMP YOIs, Brinsford (Wolverhampton) and Swinfen Hall (Lichfield) – all in the West Midlands – and HMP Northumberland, in the North-east of England.
£90,000 awarded to ‘Lifecycle’ bike workshop project run by XO Bikes and charity, Chance for Change, reskilling 54 male ex-offenders with practical bike mechanic skills, to help them get a job, on release. The project has three phases: workshop preparation, officer training and delivery. Upon release, trainees will be encouraged to join the XO Bikes training programme to hone their skills, develop confidence and self-esteem, and meet potential employers. They will also be helped to identify and apply for roles in line with their aspirations and needs.
£70,000 awarded to women’s prison skills project, run by CIPD Trust and based at HMP Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire. This is a mentoring programme at HMP Styal aiming to help 40 women develop the necessary confidence, soft skills, and employability tactics they need to find a job. The mentors are experienced HR professionals (all CIPD Members), who will support the ex-offenders, both before and after, their release from Prison. The pilot is based on a successful model that has been used with disadvantaged young people. In previous programmes. Six out of ten participants have moved into employment after being mentored.
Currently, around three in ten of those released from sentences every year go on to offend again, at an estimated social and economic cost of £18.1bn. Data shows that getting into work soon after release cuts reoffending by a third. And improving skills access is key to keeping ex-offenders out of prison while enabling them to make a valuable contribution to the community.
Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive of City & Guilds said: ‘”t was thrilling to see the breadth and variety of initiatives applying to The Big Idea Fund in this second round, making it highly competitive and difficult for the Commissioners to come to a final decision.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of this latest round of funding on those that participate in the programmes, on the organisations they work for and society that we’re all part of.”
Heather Phillips, CEO / Founder, Beating Time, said: “Post prison unemployment is another punitive sentence, to poverty and dependence. It’s a waste and wrong, on lots of levels. Inside Job, is an effective employment programme, thought of and run by people who have served, and others who are still serving, prison sentences. Being able to develop and deliver our own bespoke qualification in employment for people with convictions, thanks to City and Guilds, will enable us to disseminate our unique knowledge base, grow and get more people into work.”
Find out more about The Big Idea Fund and the programmes funded here.