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.
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:
- In Shropshire: delivered by Together for Wellbeing (www.together-uk.org)
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.
- in Telford and Kidderminster : delivered by Willowdene Farm ( www.ritesocialenterprises.org.uk)
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.
- In Redditch and Bromsgrove: delivered by the Sandycroft Centre (www.sandycroft.org)
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.