Life skills for ex-offenders boosted by grant

Published:

A Westminster charity’s work to offer young male ex-offenders a brighter future is set to benefit from a £115,000 grant from the Trust.

Key4Life has been awarded the grant to boost its work in helping reduce youth reoffending rates and change the lives of young male ex-offenders in the capital. The money will fund a programme to help young men about to leave prison with life-skills and employment training in HMP Brixton.

As well as equipping the ex-offenders with valuable life skills and building their confidence through therapy, music and football, the money will be used to forge links with employers who may not have previously considered recruiting ex-offenders.

Our Chair, Alison Gowman, said:

“Everyone deserves a second chance to change their life for the better, and this programme will help these young men to gain more self-confidence and become assets to their communities.

“We are proud to support Key4Life’s important work in providing them with the mentorship and motivation that they need in order to turn their lives around.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to making London a fairer place to work and live in.”

Eva Hamilton MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Key4Life, said:

“City Bridge Trust will be supporting Key4Life to reduce rates of offending in London, in particular, our work with HMP Brixton to support young men both pre- and post- their release from prison.

“We launched Key4Life in response to the London riots in 2011, and the charity provides another chance to young people who have been involved with crime, including mentoring and help to secure employment.

“With the rise in knife crime on the streets, it’s more important than ever to divert London’s young people away from criminality, and into jobs and meaningful activity.”

The Ministry of Justice indicates that the overall re-offending rate for adult and juvenile offenders released from custody is between 29% to 32%, with the rate more than doubling among 16 to 24-year-old men, many of whom return to prison within one year of release.

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Case study – Jordan – from Key4Life:

Jordan was 22 years old when Key4Life met him in HMP/YOI Isis. He was excluded from mainstream education before the age of 16 and. when he was 19 years old, he received a seven and-a-half year prison sentence and served nearly four years in prison.

Jordan joined the Key4Life programme to ‘learn new skills, find opportunities, connections, support and find the right direction’. Whilst in prison, he completed his Personal Training Level 2 qualification alongside the Key4Life programme, citing exercise as an important part of developing his emotional resilience skills.

Upon release, Jordan moved away from the area he had lived previously to avoid old associates and shadowed a personal trainer in his local gym, running Kettlebell classes for up to 20 participants. With the support of Key4Life, he completed Work Tasters at Gaucho and Glassworks, both industries that he hadn’t previously considered entering. He found employment in the construction industry and is currently utilising his skills by studying Gas Installation at college.

Jordan is also training to become a Key Mentor with Key4Life. Key Mentors use their lived-experience of youth crime, prison and rehabilitation to mentor other young people who are at risk – thus becoming community leaders. He is an integral part of the recruitment for Key4Life’s next preventative London At Risk programme, launching later this year. He also recently visited a school in Nottingham with Key4Life to share his experience of knife crime with teachers, as part of the school’s strategy to reduce knife crime in the area and keep pupils safe.

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