Ex-offenders turn a cornerBetween July 2015 and June 2016 LEAP undertook a programme, funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk and the Department for Work and Pensions, aimed at increasing the number of offenders entering the workplace, reducing dependency on welfare benefits and reducing reoffending.
LEAP’s Enhanced Offender Employability Programme supported 57 people with criminal convictions to access employment, education and training over a 12 month period, with fantastic results.
Twenty One people went into paid employment, 24 accessed training and 30 improved their employability skills.
Six individuals participated in the Flourish Employment Academy and had the opportunity to gain work experience through LEAP’s trading arm, The Feed, a catering business that uses food as a catalyst to inspire and motivate people to achieve a more fulfilling life.
Barry Allard “Founder” of LEAP East CIC said, “Some of the case studies within this project prove that by working together we will reach our ambitious aim of removing the stigma faced by those with an offending history, giving them hope and access to employment”.
Over the 12 months of the programme, a reduction was seen in reoffending rates, arrests, criminal charges and police time spent dealing with criminal behaviour.
Ten of the clients worked with benefited from support with accommodation, two gained supported accommodation after release from prison, one of whom walked out of the prison gates straight into accommodation.
Lorne Green Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk said, “The whole of the Norfolk community can rejoice when it sees ex-offenders turn a corner and take their place in contributing positively to life in our county.”
Andrew Smith a client who, since working with LEAP in February, has achieved paid employment and his own independent accommodation described LEAP as the hope that made the difference.
LEAP continues to provide its unique service supporting people who face disadvantage in the greater Norwich area, currently funded by the Big Lottery and supported by revenue from its trading arm, The Feed.
Find out more about LEAP at www.norwichleap.co.uk and read the full Enhanced Offender Employability Report here.