A charity which helps offenders to resettle in the community when they return to Warwickshire upon release from prison has been given a £10,000 boost from Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.
Futures Unlocked, which is based in Rugby but works across the whole of Warwickshire, provides 1-1 mentoring support for individuals leaving the prison system, many of whom have few or no existing support networks. By helping them restart their lives more effectively, the ultimate aim is to turn their lives around and steer them away from further offending.
Case referrals come predominately from the National Probation Service, often for individuals who have served sentences for high risk offences such as murder, robbery and serious sexual offences, though clients can also self-refer or be suggested by other partners such as the police. The charity supports more than 100 clients a year on average, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstances.
By working closely with their trained volunteer mentor from Futures Unlocked, clients can get help with accessing accommodation and benefits, attending Probation appointments, registering with a GP and getting help for substance misuse problems. They can also receive support around family matters and get assistance to help them work towards education and employment.
Mick, a client who had a long history of offending to feed a drug habit, began to work with Futures Unlocked when he was in Approved Premises. Determined not to go back to prison, he worked with his mentor and has been able to turn his life around and stay away from trouble.
“I do not know what I would have done without Futures Unlocked,” he says. “They got me my own accommodation (getting money for the deposit and rent) and supported me while I found work. They even got me some pots and pans and a blow-up bed. They also got me a provisional driving license.
“Because I was settled, I moved from agency work with a company to their full-time staff. For the first time in a long time I really enjoy life. I have steered clear of drugs and I am very thankful for all that Futures Unlocked have been able to do for me.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “Having people locked into a cycle of crime is of no benefit to anyone, and the mentoring provided by Futures Unlocked gives a real opportunity for those coming out of the prison system to successfully settle back into the community and lead productive and crime-free lives.
“Ultimately, that means fewer lives being blighted by crime in the future, not to mention the benefits for the taxpayer of not having the same people coming through the criminal justice system time and again.
“That’s why I’m pleased to be able to support Futures Unlocked through my Reducing Re-offending Grants Scheme for the work they do to support clients here in Warwickshire. It’s very beneficial and I was pleased to be able to come and meet the team and hear first-hand how their work is making a difference and contributing to creating a safer county.”
Futures Unlocked Operations Manager John Powell said: “Futures Unlocked would like to thank Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe for his continued support of our charity. We are very grateful for this £10,000 grant and hope to continue working closely with the Commissioner for many years to come.”
He added: “If you would like to become a trained volunteer working with ex-offenders then please visit our website www.futuresunlocked.org and apply online. With restrictions being lifted, we are in a position to run volunteer training in September 2021.”