Helping Ex-Offenders

Helping Ex Offenders
Work Out Stats

Job Coach

As you many of you will know I have been working as an artist since 1984. However, since March 2018, I have been working as a Job Coach Helping Ex-Offenders find employment. This has been on a part time basis with the charity Junction 42 in Newcastle. Junction 42 delivers faith and creative programmes in male and female prisons and young offender institutes across the north of England and in Scotland. It also leads community groups and runs employability mentoring schemes.

The 1-2-1 mentoring involves helping ex-offenders who have been referred to us through the DWP, Prisons and Probation. We have worked with around 200 ex-offenders in the last year. In the last 12 months we have seen over 25% move into paid work. This percentage is way above Government programmes which achieve less than 10%. Over the last 4 years, only one of my clients has actually been convicted and gone to prison. I’ve had meaningful engagement with over 100 ex-offenders.

My role as a Job Coach has involved 1-2-1 mentoring to enable them find employment. This includes cv writing, disclosure letters, helping access relevant employability training, voluntary work and ultimately paid work.

Art in Prisons

I’ve also delivered Art in Prisons. These include portrait courses in HMP Low Newton in Durham for women and HMPYOI Deerbolt in Barnard Castle for young men. I’ve also been teaching Art in HMP Northumberland through to early 2020 when COVID prevented us from delivering education and Faith Groups in prison. 

When Lockdown started, all the UK prisoners were locked in their cells for 23.5 hours a day. To help them cope, Junction 42 developed Creative Art & Faith In Cell Packs. Each pack included a worship CD, a Word for Today Daily devotional, a prayer journal and a creative art exercise which includes materials. I’ve developed some of the art exercises which include how to draw portraits and animals and step by step painting landscapes and seascapes in watercolour.

One of the exercises is this step by step painting the Tyne Bridges below.

Tyne Bridges
Tyne Bridges in Stages

Over 200,000 In Cell packs have been sent out to 91% of the UK prisons. We regularly get letters from prisoners thanking Junction 42 for the In Cell Packs. The story below is typical:

Testimony

Feedback from one of the prison chaplains about Stories Of Hope “Thanks so much for the Junction 42 packs. One of the former individuals in our care once said “The Stories of Hope pack saved my life. When I came into custody I was suicidal. I really wanted to take my life. I was given The Stories of Hope pack at Reception. Opening it and doing some of the activities saved my life. The packs should be given to everybody coming into custody.”

I’m going to be teaching art again soon in one of the region’s prisons. This will provide the prisoners with an opportunity to learn some new skills during their sentence. Just as importantly, they will find out what kind of support they can receive from Junction 42 when they are released.

 Junction 42 is funded partly by grants and annual contracts from various agencies including the Department for Work and Pensions. However, what will really make the charity sustainable is monthly private donations.

If you would like to consider supporting the charity and the work we do, the idea would be to set up a standing order to Junction 42 with my name as a reference. You can go to the Donate Page and add my name in a message.

Typically, Junction 42 donors give anywhere between £5 – £100 a month and the average donation is £35. Any amount is so much appreciated.

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