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Reducing reoffending… have your say!

17 December 2014

by Carolyn Sawers

Many community and voluntary organisations across the UK are working to support people who have a history of offending to change their lives for the better.

As a funder we are keen to champion this work and learn from it. Since 2006 the Fund has supported more than 1200 projects in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland (worth around £390m) working with people at risk of offending, ex-offenders, their families and their communities.

Some are large initiatives like our Realising Ambition programme, aiming to prevent first time offending; but many are small projects, like the local restoration project my colleague Michelle Cherry visited in Northern Ireland.

Man and woman talking at a desk at Catch 22 offices

In 2013 we asked Fiona Ellis to write up and analyse 12 case studies from all four countries. These stories show different approaches to reducing reoffending, as well as revealing common themes like the importance of access to employment, stable accommodation and strong family ties.

From keeping an eye out for other initiatives in this area I’ve also increasingly come across examples that are focused on mentoring, volunteering and sometimes volunteer mentors!

Which leads me to ask five questions about reducing reoffending:

  1. What other examples of effective work are there out there?
  1. Which models respond best to local differences?
  1. What strengths do ex-offenders themselves bring to the table?
  1. What other data is there that would help us understand what works, and what doesn’t?
  1. If you had £10k, £100k or £1m to help bring about change for ex-offenders and the communities they live in, what would you do?

I’d love to hear your answers to any or all of these questions, or to hear what questions you would add to the list.

You can share your views using this quick survey or by emailing your numbered answers to

Update: First of all a huge thanks to all of you that have already completed the survey, we will be getting back to you on this. The deadline has been extended to Friday 30 January … so for those of you yet to get back to us, come and have your say!

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