The Back on Track initiative, a peer-led training and mentoring initiative for people who have offended and are trying to rebuild their lives, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Andy Ludlow Awards, sponsored by the London Housing Foundation.
The course, which can involve both training and 1:1 mentoring, is designed for people who have offended but now want to get their lives back on track. Crucially and uniquely it was designed by people coming out of prison.
Pat Ryan, Chief Executive of Hestia said “Our clients told us that alongside the existing prerelease courses, they needed something else to make the transition from prison to living in the community. So we worked with them to design the Back on Track programme. Over 8 sessions we cover practical and emotional topics: dealing with stereotyping, managing anger, building positive networks and communication skills. And after the eight week course, people can ask to be given a mentor to help them put it all into practice. Clients tell us that it makes a difference and they continue to take a lead role in the on-going design and delivery of the programme.”
Gary Lawrence, 39, came out of custody this year “after a 2 stretch for drugs”. He completed the core programme and the mentor training course and will be matched with a mentee soon. He said “It is hard coming out of prison. You have lost a lot of your old skills, and friends sometimes don’t want to know you. And people treat you differently when they find out you’ve been inside. This course really helped me think in a new way – and I know it will help me stay out of trouble.”
Don Wood is the Executive Chairman of the London Housing Foundation. He said “This is a very positive programme that can make a real difference to people who are coming out of prison and want to start a new way of living. I hope the scheme goes from strength to strength.”