Here at Challenge 4 Change, part of the Growth Company, we have people from all walks of life come through our doors on a daily basis – from groups of employees who want to work better as a team, to school children who are simply there for the fun. But perhaps one of the most important groups of people who we work with are vulnerable people who have either committed crime, or are at serious risk of doing so.
There’s something so rewarding about seeing them change their behaviour and way of thinking, and centres like ourselves play a vital part in supporting them on their journey towards a life that’s far removed from criminal activity.
One programme which we’re particularly proud to deliver is ‘Team-mates not Inmates’, which engages these hard-to-reach individuals and helps them to make positive changes to their lives.
Delivered in a purpose-built jail, the powerful programme helps young people to make the ‘right’ choices so that they don’t end up serving a custodial sentence. And whilst the information is given to them in a non-threatening and non-patronising way, we also ensure that the programme is real and hard-hitting.
‘Team-mates not Inmates’ comes in two forms: there’s a softer, preventive angle designed for young people who have not yet got a history of anti-social behaviour as well as a stronger, curative version for anyone who’s been locked up previously or participated in behaviour which may potentially lead to imprisonment. This two-pronged approach allows us to tailor the programme so that the best possible outcome is achieved.
We’re there for participants every step of the way – from identifying issues that are leading them towards crime, to supporting them in finding employment. This holistic, end-to-end approach is crucial given that according to research from the Ministry of Justice, those who have a job are 20% less likely to commit more crime.
The UK’s prison system is facing challenging times, with Prisons Minister Rory Stewart recently announcing the ’10 Prisons Project’. The project aims to tackle urgent problems in ten of the most challenging prisons in the country, with one of the priorities being to reduce reoffending.
If we can do our bit to reduce the number of people ending up inside through our preventive approach, and help people to stay away from crime once they’re out of prison through our curative work, then that can only be a good thing. As part of the Growth Company, improving lives is something we’re proud to do on a daily basis – and we’re in an amazing position to empower these hard-to-reach individuals to lead a more positive, purposeful life.