Ex-offenders supported to find work by Commissioner
A scheme to help ex-offenders get back into employment has been supported by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

David Lloyd has awarded £25,000 from the Community Safety Grant, run by his office, for volunteers to provide education, training and support for those released from prison.

The ‘Step Forward’ project is run by the charity Hertfordshire Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders (HACRO). They have also contributed £11,000 and the National Probation Service have agreed another £10,000 in support.

Granting the funding Mr Lloyd said: “The responsibilities of a Police and Crime Commissioner mandate that we reduce both offending, and the number of victims affected by crime.

“Providing support and opportunities for ex-offenders has been proven to work, enabling them to successfully re-join society.

“This funding from my Community Safety Grant supports partner organisations that have a vital part to play in keeping Hertfordshire’s communities safe.”

The trained volunteers will provide one-on-one employment coaching to support offenders who are being managed by the probation service. The coaches will still be able to offer the programe while observing COVID-19 restrictions.



The chairperson of HACRO Valerie Beale said: “HACRO is delighted to have received funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner and the National Probation Service for a new project.

“Step Forward will see trained volunteers working with offenders in a job mentoring role. Working closely with the BeNCH Education, Training and Employment Officer and the HACRO WorkAbility tutors, the job mentors will help offenders with writing CVs, completing job applications and support, guide and accompany them on their journey towards employment.

“There are challenging times ahead in relation to employment generally due to the pandemic and it’s going to be tougher than ever for people like offenders, who often don’t have qualifications or a consistent work record.

“Having the one-to-one support of a jobs mentor will help offenders to maintain the motivation to turn their lives around and to get and retain jobs.”

The ‘Step Forward’ project will be delivered across Hertfordshire and be available for all adult residents who are currently serving all or part of their sentence in the community.

A part-time Project Coordinator will be responsible for the recruitment, training, supervision and matching of a dedicated team of project volunteers who will deliver the support.

Background

The Police and Crime Commissioner oversees a Community Safety Grant which supports work with partner organisations (including district community safety partnerships) that have a vital part to play in keeping Hertfordshire’s communities safe.

Grant applicants are asked to consider how their proposed projects align with the aims of the Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, as well as with local priorities.

The Commissioner attaches conditions to the grant, which help him oversee how well the money is spent on behalf of local communities and to ensure that there is transparency and accountability.

HACRO is a charity that helps people who have been on the wrong side of the law to turn their lives around. They deliver family support and ex-offender employment programmes – both proven to reduce re-offending.