The Big Lottery Fund has awarded WWV £465,646 to develop its project which aims to reduce the number of ex-offenders who re-offend on leaving prison.
The project, which gives ex-offenders a chance to rebuild their lives through community volunteering, will use the funding to expand capacity across the North West, London, South East and South West. WWV provides one-to-one coaching and mentoring support to clients to identify routes to real life change, and facilitates specific voluntary placements in the community which will help them meet their goals. The programme has already demonstrated significant success in helping people to turn their lives around, including significant improvements in personal skills, social networks, wellbeing, and employability.
WWV works in partnership with other agencies to ensure the volunteering is embedded as part of a resettlement package including housing, drug and alcohol support. Following volunteering placements, WWV provides continuous support where needed to enable clients to gain sustainable employment.
WWV has been supporting ex-offenders for the past five years and aims to help hundreds more people leaving prison to become economically independent, self-reliant and contributing members of society.
“I had no self-belief – no qualifications. Drug and alcohol addict. I didn’t feel anything. Since working with Karen [WWV staff member in Manchester], I have a totally different mindset now. She believes in you, and makes you realise your self-worth. She makes you think about what you want. She has helped me find my calling.”
“WWV makes a real impact on people’s lives. People who haven’t worked for a very, very long time. [The clients] come back from their volunteering placements beaming. Their whole demeanour changes. It builds their confidence, and develops a work ethic. It gives them a sense of purpose, and self-respect they never thought they would get back.”
Hostel manager, Manchester
Mike Silvey, Director of WWV, said: “The programme gives people a second chance. Without support, their expected trajectory is to return to prison within months of release. But we know that by taking up a voluntary role, irrespective of their starting point, they can learn the skills needed for a successful career change and put their past behind them. The grant from the Big Lottery Fund will enable the programme to reach many more people coming out of prison who genuinely want to become self-reliant and contributing members of society.”