What We Do
YSS works with West Mercia Probation Trust through the strategic partnership arrangements to deliver the 1 Step Beyond service to any offenders being supervised by Probation.

This is the strategic partnership between YSS and West Mercia Probation Trust (WMPT) that officially started on November 1st 2010. This partnership is unique in the UK and is aimed at enhancing the capacity of the voluntary and social enterprise sector to develop services that are tailored to reduce re-offending by providing a suite of integrated projects and services aimed at offenders and their families.

Under this arrangement YSS can deliver services in partnership with WMPT and can also act as a commissioner of services on their behalf. Both organisations undertake joint business development activity to identify and draw funding to develop these services. At present 7 different organisations from the voluntary and social enterprise sector across West Mercia are involved in delivering services under this arrangement.

Extra Mile

As an independent organisation YSS has developed a track record since 1985 of engaging and motivating with some of the most vulnerable young people in society. During this time all staff and volunteers have believed in ‘going that extra mile’ and making a real difference to young people and the local communities where they live. PROJECTS All YSS Projects have high levels of autonomy with local governance and benefit from a professional and flexible core management infrastructure.

Projects are themed around the following areas:

  • Criminal Justice Programmes
  • Mentoring, Diversion and Support
  • Children, Young People and Families
  • Employment Support
  • Vocational Training

Funding comes from a wide range of sources including the Lottery, ESF, Youth Justice Board, Home Office, Police Services, Probation Areas, Connexions Services, Local Authorities, Health Trusts, Independent grant making trusts, our own training and consultancy services and from individual donations.

We are brimming with positive news stories, ideas for new projects and for influencing policy at all levels to allow young people the opportunity to develop and lead constructive lives within society. If you would like to be involved with us please contact us as soon as you can.

West Mercia Probation Trust Strategic partnership

West Mercia Probation Trust (WMPT) and YSS signed a unique 7 years (5 years plus a potential 2 year extension) Strategic Partnership agreement in November 2010 following a national tendering process in April that year. This is a pioneering arrangement that has already received national recognition at a ministerial level. The partnership harnesses the skills and capacity of both organisations to maximum effect, plus a wide range of other agencies from the voluntary, private and public sectors to deliver better outcomes for offenders, their families and the wider community across West Mercia aimed at reducing reoffending.

In the new partnership YSS:

  • can be directly commissioned by West Mercia Probation Trust at any stage to design and deliver bespoke services for offender based work to meet local needs, including the provision of being a ready made pathfinder for the Ministry of Justice if required.
  • can commission voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver services on behalf of the Trust.
  • undertakes joint business development activity with the Trust and other agencies from the public, private and voluntary sector to develop key services to offenders and their families aimed at reducing reoffending.
  • represents the issues of offenders and their families in a wide range of forums in the statutory and voluntary sectors across the West Mercia area.
  • takes a lead on developing the capacity of the voluntary and community sector to develop services aimed at offenders and their families.
  • takes a lead on the ‘service user voice’ for offenders and their families to directly inform practice, policy and commissioning.

As an example of innovation the partnership jointly created a new Pathways project led by YSS for the most chaotic, at risk and prolific offenders and their families in West Mercia. This has  further developed into the Enhanced  Support for Supervision programme. This involves a range of YSS staff and volunteers together with seconded staff from the Trust and the direct involvement of 5 other voluntary organisations. The staff are co-located in YSS and partner agency offices across West Mercia. The project is funded through multiple funding streams and delivers supervision, support, mentoring and a wide range of interventions.

1 Step Beyond Women’s Specified Activity Requirements:

As a result of an initiative  to assist West Mercia Probation Trust (WMPT) engage with  more  organisations in the Voluntary and Community sector to develop services from “the ground up ” and  to meet  the  priorities of WMPT  where  there were gaps in their existing services, the 1 Step Beyond partnership  has helped  in the development  of the following new  projects for women offenders:

Utilising Together’s experience and knowledge of working with female offenders, this specified activity offers a women only specified  activity sentencing proposal for female offenders living in Shropshire. The service aims to provide time limited support to tackle up to 3 specific drivers of offending behaviour, (e.g. strengthening relationships, addressing finances, promoting mental health and coping, linking to housing and Identify and strengthen internal (e.g. coping) and external (e.g. relationships) resources .It creates a  bespoke problem solving plans for each woman  to promote self-esteem, empowerment and build on women’s strengths; enables women offenders to integrate; provides  a safe space which is non-stigmatising and operates confidentially; provides an holistic approach to health and wellbeing; develops confidence and coping skills; and takes into account the social, economic and family context of women’s lives particularly parenting and care responsibilities.

This programme gives 16 hours of life and work-focused skills training and cognitive development, for women  in Telford and Kidderminster. Offenders will learn life skills, including goal setting, time management, problem solving and the safe use of the internet and social media. Across these sessions, offenders will significantly increase their self-awareness and sense of personal responsibility as well as addressing issues around self-worth. Once these foundational life-skills sessions are complete the training is employment-focused, with offenders identifying areas of interest where they may wish to pursue potential employment or self employment. Offenders will be taught how to create both a CV and a business plan, and will understand how to run a successful self-employed enterprise.

This specified activity is delivered by a qualified counsellor and the sessions include issues relevant to women and is for women offenders in Redditch and Bromsgrove . These include  the effects of  crime on  families and others, dealing with  abusive  relationships, effective communication, asking for help,  building  positive support   networks, reducing  the  likelihood  of re-offending  and how to recognise and break the  victim/ abuser cycle. Thus exploring the power of choice and how decisions impact on shaping a person future. This is addressed through practical sessions about feelings, convictions, boundaries, decision making and problem solving. In addition to the  required hours, there is the opportunity for all of the  participants to access  a wide range of  support and advice which Sandycroft offers , both  through their own staff and other organisations who use the  premises. These include education, debt advice, counselling, and parenting advice.

  • In Worcester: Good Stuff furniture restoration project

In partnership with  YSS, West Mercia Probation  Trust  is offering a specified  activity  requirement  to meet the needs of women offenders, in Worcester. The  services are  responsive  to the individual and complex  needs of women offenders and provide support  to achieve: Changes in  attitude, thinking and perspective; Referral and signposting to a range of local services and Reduction in risk of  further offending.

This project provides a minimum of 8 mandatory enforceable hours of furniture restoration skills training and work experience delivered over 8 sessions.  (A further 2 hours per session of voluntary non-enforceable practical furniture restoration skills training is also being offered.)

The furniture restoration involves re-cycling  wooden furniture  into “shabby chic”  furniture  for sale, and  gives the clients  the opportunity to learn the  skills involved in  preparing  and painting wood. This is part of a developing Social Enterprise project for offenders. The clients also have to undertake 8 x one hour sessions covering aspects such as Employment, Training and Education (Information Advice and Guidance) with an emphasis on self-employment and enterprise where appropriate,  Physical Health & Nutrition, Emotional Well Being, Finance & Debt, and Relationships (including Parenting). This takes into account the social, economic and family context of women’s lives particularly parenting and care responsibilities and addresses the underlying causes of offending behaviour. There is also the offer of working towards an accredited OCN Award through Bourneville College.

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Registered Charity Number: 1081992
Company Number: 4024428
Patron: HRH The Princess Royal