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Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership

A community partnership that’s changing lives for ex-offenders

Posted: 26/04/12 by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership

A group of Northamptonshire Ambassadors recently visited HMP Wellingborough to see the support that’s available for prisoners to help them secure employment after serving their sentence.

The Ambassadors, a group of influential and innovative leaders in the business community, visited the prison to see the work that’s being undertaken to help offenders reintegrate into the community through the REACH employability project.

The morning briefing, held at the prison, was hosted by Northamptonshire Probation Trust, in partnership with HMP Wellingborough and The Mallows Company to illustrate the constructive work that’s being done through the REACH Project.

The REACH Project was set up to target offenders with additional barriers and provides skills and qualifications to boost their employability after prison.

Tansi Harper, Chair of Northamptonshire Probation Trust, provided an overview of the REACH Project to the Ambassadors, followed by a discussion with Kevin, an ex-offender, who provided an ex-offender’s perspective. The group were later taken on a tour of the prison workshops, education and training facilities.

"This event served to promote the initiative to the wider business community in order to attract more employers to the scheme and better understand the challenges to re-entering the employment market after serving a sentence from the offender's perspective,” said Tansi Harper.

“I was personally overwhelmed by the interest from the business community. Hearing first hand from offenders helped us all understand the rehabilitation provision offered in the community by Northamptonshire Probation Trust and in Wellingborough prison and how offenders can make the most of the education and skills training to prepare themselves for future employment.”

Stephen Miller, Ambassador and Managing Director of Eighty20 Group said: “It was really inspiring to see people determined to turn their lives around by applying themselves to activities such as carpentry and advanced computer skills. I think we were all impressed to also learn about the support that is available to prisoners after their release, to help them gain employment and play a full and active part in the community.”

The REACH project is jointly funded by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and its success relies heavily on support from the local business community.

The aim of the county Ambassador programme, which is facilitated by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, is to promote Northamptonshire as a destination for investment, tourism and living and to raise awareness of business influencing initiatives such as Northamptonshire Probation Trust and Wellingborough Prison’s REACH Project.

The visit took place on March 29.

For more information on the REACH project, visit: http://www.northants-probation.org.uk/reach.html

For more information on the Northamptonshire Ambassadors Programme, visit: http://www.northamptonshireletyourselfgrow.com/ambassadors/

PHOTO: Ambassadors Julian Winch, General Manager of Snap-on Finance UK Ltd and President of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, and Jonathan Nunn, Director of Individual Team Performance Ltd visiting the prison’s carpentry workshop.

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