Completed Projects

AIM Project

AIM is an ESF funded innovation project that is based on action research principles to establish best practice in terms of moving ex-offenders into sustainable employment. YSS is working in partnership with West Mercia Probation Trust, Warwickshire Probation Trust and BES (Business enterprise Support) to deliver this project. Within the West Mercia area the particular innovation of this project is the focus on working with the family members of ex-offenders to provide a whole family approach rather than working with the individuals in isolation. In Worcestershire, YSS and West Mercia Probation Trust have been able to secure the services of the Family Interventions Project (FIP) to co-deliver support to identified ex-offenders and their families via Worcestershire Supporting People funding.

In Warwickshire the Probation Trust are developing tailor made intensive development programmes for ex-offenders who are women and also for those who have served in the military services. These programmes will also lead to accreditation in mentoring and IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) with the aim of moving several people into employment in the welfare to work industry.

Further information  can be found by clicking on : AIMpartnership  and  ESF projects 

Bail programmes

Since 1998 YSS staff have delivered bail assessment and support services for the Worcestershire and Herefordshire Youth Offending Service, along with Specified Activities. The staff were seconded over to the West Mercia Youth Offending Service and work from YOS offices delivering this work to National Standards.

Bradley Mental Health Project (West Mercia)

This project was funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation and sat within the YSS and Warwickshire/West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company partnership arrangements. It was supported and endorsed by the West Mercia Criminal Justice Board and also the West Mercia Criminal Justice Board mental health sub-group. YSS aimed to influence the development of local practice, policy and commissioning of mental health services for offenders and their families at a strategic level in the criminal justice system, in local authorities and health services by:

  • Improving and increasing the operational capacity of both voluntary sector and criminal justice agencies to deliver services for offenders and their families with mental health needs
  • Identifying best practice and influencing local policy through awareness raising and training programmes about mental health issues for offenders and their families
  • Lobbying and influencing the commissioning strategies of statutory agencies by using both service user feedback and operational staff feedback from within the criminal justice and health settings

YSS employed 3 dedicated senior mental health development workers covering the 4 local authority areas (Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin) within West Mercia to undertake the majority of this work. The underpinning research that established this project is based on the Lord Bradley review published in 2009.

Please see the  two videos below  of clients  talking about the support they  have received  from the Bradley  Mental Health project, and the impact on their lives. These were commissioned for the YSS Mental Health conference: “Offenders in the Community”.

Chris: YSS Transition to adulthood (T2A ) client giving his view of the support received from YSS on Vimeo.  This  film was made  with the help and camera expertise  of Jon Derricott,    for the YSS Mental Health conference: “Offenders in the Community” and delegates had the opportunity to hear Chris’s  story.

Robert: This video is about Robert, a YSS Transition to Adulthood ( T2A) client giving his view of the support from YSS on Vimeo.This  film was made  with the help and camera expertise  of Jon Derricott,    for the YSS Mental Health conference: “Offenders in the Community” and delegates had the opportunity to hear Robert’s  story.

 Bradley Mental health  project  : update and report

  • Our mental health development project is now in its 4th and final year with Lloyds funding coming to an end in July 15.
  • There is a widely accepted strong rationale for specialist mental health service for those in CJ system; evidence from our project supports this demonstrating  both a high level of need amongst our client group,  which is also compounded by a lack of access to appropriate services
  • Key achievements of the project are:
  • Training and coaching has resulted in a significant increase in confidence and awareness of mental health  by YSS staff
  • The project has received 544 referrals, and worked with 209 individuals during 2011-2014.  63% of clients reported an improved score on mental health issues when reviewed at the end of their YSS intervention
  • Our Social Return on Investment assessment confirms the cost effectiveness of our project and suggests that commissioners and communities could expect a return of £7.50 for every £1 invested
  • Our screening shows a wide range of issues, many of which required further specialist    assessment.  Our interventions include:  assistance with referral pathways,  advocacy, supporting mental health management and awareness, motivational interviewing , motivational interviewing and delivery of Moodmaster (Cognitive behavioural therapy ) sessions.
  • The Centre for Mental Health have audited the severity of our service users’ mental health needs and found that the project was engaging with a very high severity of mental health need, equivalent to that of an assertive outreach team caseload.  Despite this  they struggle to access and engage with traditional mental health services.
  • We are seeking to strengthen our strategic  links with commissioners,  health and community partners to ensure that this important element of our work will continue after July 2015.
  • Read the  full discussion and report, with  forward from Lord Bradley : YSS Bradley updated report May 2015


Carden St. Cafe, 13-17 Carden Street, Worcester, Wr12AT

DSCF1811The Carden St. Cafe was a commercial cafe, opened officially in October 2014. All profit from the cafe  were put back into the Cafe to create training and employment opportunities for our clients to develop their skills, knowledge and self-confidence to gain sustainable employment with local businesses.  

new sign in place outside cafe 6Located on the edge of Worcester City Centre this was a local neighbourhood cafe providing a wide range of breakfast and lunch options for eating in or takeaway. It was ideally located for local businesses, local residents and people walking into the city centre. The food was freshly prepared in house by our Chef and Cafe Manager. The menu included a full cooked breakfast menu, take away hot breakfast sandwiches, take away lunch sandwiches, salads, soup, savouries, main lunch meals and home made cakes. All were at very competitive prices providing great value for money. We also had a Barista coffee machine for all the favourite speciality coffee and a regular daily changing specials board.  The cafe closed  in March 2017.



Divert (Shropshire)

YSS had previously delivered the Shropshire YISP project (Youth Inclusion and Support Project) jointly commissioned by Shropshire Children’s Services and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Youth Offending Service since 2006. The project aimed to prevent young people aged 8-17 years entering the criminal justice system. The project was delivered under a specification developed by the national Youth Justice Board.

At the end of this project Shropshire Children’s Services asked YSS to develop a ‘tailor-made’ preventative service for the same age group to provide a more flexible service to meet the needs of Shropshire. The result was the Divert project. Divert offers a mix of intensive one to one support, mentoring, parental support, schools awareness work and flexible outreach group work. Although managed by YSS, Divert is strongly embedded in the local Shropshire structure to ensure true partnership working to achieve integrated services.

YSS volunteers add value to Divert by giving support to parents of children who are considered to be at risk of anti social/offending behaviour; building one to one relationships with parents; helping them to find their own strength to build their confidence and skills; enabling parents to support their families and achieve their goals and move forward positively; helping parents develop effective parenting strategies in order to influence and/or control their child’s behaviour. Full training and support is given to volunteers in this role.

Family First Support Service in Worcester City.

Family First Support Service was a pilot project  offered to families in Worcester City, in partnership with Action for Children in 2016.

The service  offered practical and emotional support  to families  of those  in prison who resided  in Worcester city. Through  our support and guidance, we helped families  cope  with the demands of having a partner or loved one  in prison and know  that  you have  someone to turn to.


Support  included:

  • Planning for prison visits
  • Preparing  for prison release
  • Family, schooling and child support
  • Finances and budgeting
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Accommodation
  • Increased confidence and self esteem
  • Employment and training support
  • Improving IT skills

Flexible Support

The Flexible Support project is an initiative to help improve employment outcomes or prospects of future employment outcomes for long-term unemployed offenders who face the most complex barriers to work. The project is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and managed locally by Jobcentre Plus.

The project has allowed us to work in a holistic way with more than 60 offenders, in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, offering them 121 wrap around support as well as practical  group activities and support to help break down the barriers (real and perceived) to employment. Since the project began in February 2012, 10 clients have started full time employment.

The practical activities have included painting and decorating taster sessions delivered by the YMCA in Worcester, care farm (horticulture) placements delivered by The Fold at Bransford,  Business Start up training delivered by Business Enterprise Solutions (BES),  Gym instructors training delivered by Jump Fitness and CSCS card training. An exciting development will see us starting to deliver Barista training in Carden St. Cafe at our premises in the centre of Worcester.

Eddy’s story

Eddy has been in and out of prison for most of his life. More recently he has been released after serving six years for armed robbery and is now on licence for three years. Eddy, who is also a prolific, priority offender (PPO) was referred by his Pathways keyworker to see if we could help him back into employment.

Eddy initially worked on gaining his CSCS card and has attended weekly sessions for nearly two months. Although he passed all mock tests Eddy is now struggling to pass the actual CSCS test, so he is being given extra 1:1 support and is due to make a 3rd attempt in the next few weeks.

Eddy has also been attending the Gym Instructors Level 2 Course that was recently run by Jump Fitness and funded via Flexible Support Funding. This course will enable Eddy and the others to apply for employment in any local gym. The course tutor commented that “it has been the best group of students he has ever had the pleasure of working with”.

Eddy has also attended one of our regular job clubs. We have put together a CV, covered how to disclose his convictions when applying for work and made several online job applications.

When you are listed as being a PPO you have to attend Probation on a more intense basis. Eddy currently sees his Probation officer once a week, his Pathways Key Worker twice a week and has also been attending the training at YSS Carden Street three times a week. This is on top of all his other community appointments such as attending the job centre.

Eddy says – “When my Probation officer first suggested working with YSS I was very negative. I thought here goes again, another bunch of do gooders!! How wrong was I! I have been given loads of support away from the Probation Office and been able to attend quality training that will give me a realistic chance of finding work. This is stuff I now want to do, rather than being forced to! Thank you to everyone who has helped me”

*Name changed to maintain confidentiality

To read more about Flexible Support Funding, please click here.

Mickeys Story

Mickey was referred to the project by his probation officer in early May 2012 after seeing the various posters on display in reception. Following confirmation from Job Centre Plus that Mickey was eligible for the project he attended an Assessment session with his YSS key worker. Mickey is 30 and has been claiming Job Seekers Allowance for 8 months.

When Mickey first came to the project he was assessed. This is to look at all areas of Mickey’s life and to then produce an action plan on how best to move forward and help Mickey to find employment. During the assessment it became clear that Mickey needed more than just training. It was arranged to see Mickey on a weekly basis for 1:1 work. We worked together during May and June, and in this time we produced a CV, completed a disclosure session, looked at work involving finance, benefits and debt issues and undertook job searches.

It became apparent that Mickey had spent a short time in the armed forces. We helped to  write an application to Civvy Street to apply for some LGV lessons. We are still awaiting the reply, but remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

Whilst the 1:1 work was carried out,  Mickey attended the YMCA Painting & Decorating course, funded through Flexible Support Funding at YSS Carden Street every Monday. Mickey enjoyed attending and is the one who has turned up most times to develop new skills.

Mickey registered with a local employment agency and was offered a few days work driving, the company was so impressed with his enthusiasm, attitude and commitment that they offered Mickey a full time job. Although Mickey was keen to work full time he was also keen to complete his painting & Decorating course.He has arranged with employer to work four extended days per week until the end of August so he can have Mondays off and finish his course. This demonstrates a commitment that is rarely seen.

The keyworker said ” I have enjoyed working with Mickey over the last two month’s. He has been very committed, worked hard to over come the many barriers that offenders see. He has applied to JCP and gained help through the discretionary access fund to keep his car on the road, started employment and also been awarded the £250 back to work grant. He has received high praise from Dave Knatt, Tutor from YMCA and now shares his skills with new learners starting the course”.

Mickey says, “I can’t believe I’m finally in work! It’s been really difficult at times but the help and support I have been given through the project has been fantastic. It’s great to be able to attend a training course and sort other things such as my finances and budgeting skills. I’m determined to complete the course and my new boss is happy for me to continue. Many thanks.”

*Name changed to maintain confidentiality.

ISS: Intensive Supervision & Surveillance Programme

ISS is a key directive from the YJB, and provides Intensive Supervision and Surveillance for young people aged 10-17 at risk of a custodial sentence or remand in custody. As its name suggests, it combines unprecedented levels of community-based surveillance with a comprehensive and sustained focus on tackling the factors that contribute to the young person’s offending behaviour. ISS targets the most active repeat young offenders, and those who commit the most serious crimes. YSS  staff were  delivering this  programme on placement  in West Mercia YOS (Youth Offending Service).

Junior Attendance Centre

Courts use Attendance Centre Orders and Attendance Centre requirements of Community and Youth Rehabilitation Orders to punish offenders aged 10-25. Offenders aged between 10 and 17 years can be sent to Junior Attendance Centres and offenders between 18 and 25 years to Senior Centres. A condition of attendance at a Centre can also be made under other requirements of community orders, most notably the Community and Youth Rehabilitation Orders and many Junior centres host young people not yet convicted by a Court on Referral orders.

YSS  Carden Street Training and Enterprise Centre, in Worcester, hosts JAC  for Worcestershire and Herefordshire, on alternate Saturdays. Attendance Centres can accommodate offenders at low, medium and high risk of re-offending and those who pose a low and medium risk of serious harm. Attendees lose their liberty and simultaneously come under a disciplined programme of activities. They have to participate in structured instructional sessions which improve their personal skills and address their offending or anti-social behaviour. YSS  provides trainers  to deliver  structured  vocational training sessions.

Non Statutory Support (NSS) completed 2016

West Mercia Police had commissioned YSS to develop a bespoke, individual service to target groups of offenders most at risk of reoffending across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin.

The purpose of NSS was to work in conjunction with  West Mercia Police in reducing re-offending rates by increasing the level of engagement of targeted non statutory  Integrated Offender Management (IOM) offender groups.

YSS keyworkers, specially trained volunteer mentors, and WMP IOM coordinators worked together to encourage individuals who were not being supervised by WMPT as part of a community order or licence to engage with the service. Keyworkers undertook a review of each individual’s needs and supports them to address and overcome the factors and barriers that cause them to offend or re-offend. All appointments and meetings were arranged in participants’ local communities.

YSS worked with, and signposted to, a number of other agencies who fall under the seven pathways known to reduce re-offending:-

  • Accommodation – i.e. housing providers
  • Health – i.e. GP surgeries
  • Drugs & Alcohol – i.e. alcohol intervention services
  • Education, employment and training – i.e. training providers
  • Finance, benefits and debts – i.e. debt advice services
  • Children and Families – i.e. family intervention services
  • Attitudes, thinking and behaviour – i.e. counselling services

Engagement with the service was on a voluntary basis.



PAM Project (Worcestershire)

PAM stands for Pathways Accommodation Mentoring. YSS has been commissioned by Worcestershire Supporting People to deliver a county wide mentoring project for individuals who are in the criminal justice system and who are having difficulties in either sustaining or obtaining suitable accommodation. YSS takes a lead on this project in partnership with both the Worcester YMCA and the Redditch YMCA. By working in partnership the 3 organisations are able to offer a far more comprehensive service than working in isolation by building on their key knowledge base and skills. The project offers intensive one to one mentoring support through dedicated key workers and/or a team of volunteer mentors across the county. Again support is tailored to the individual and offered on a one to basis in the community at flexible times and location.

This project was evaluated by an independent researcher and  his report showing key findings and added value can be read below:

Social Return on Investment for Pathways Accommodation Mentoring project

Pathways (West Mercia Probation Trust)

The Pathways service is the ‘umbrella’ name for a series of related projects aimed at reducing re-offending and delivered across the West Mercia area. YSS developed the Pathways service from an identified need raised by West Mercia Probation Trust and as a direct result of the strategic partnership between the organisations.

The Pathways service aim to provide a flexible ‘menu’ of intensive supervision and support projects targeted at specific groups of people who have offended. Most of the work is delivered on a one to one basis in the community and is tailored around each person to ensure the best individual outcomes and an overall of reduction in reoffending. The projects focus around motivational support, ensuring compliance with any court requirements and dealing with issues around accommodation support, finance and debt issues, employment advice, mental health support, vocational training, support with children and family issues, physical health and substance misuse issues.

Some of the services and projects are delivered by YSS. Other projects and services under the Pathways umbrella have been developed by YSS and West Mercia Probation Trust and are delivered in partnership with a range of public, private and voluntary sector partners. Projects can be offered prior to someone being released from prison to support re-integration to the community. Some projects can be stipulated as a requirement of a court order and other projects are to be participated in through voluntary engagement. Support from the projects can typically last for between 6 and 12 weeks but potentially could last up to 52 weeks dependent of the circumstances. Contact from the projects can be delivered three times per week, once a week or every two weeks according to needs. This is always backed up with regular telephone and text support.

Senior Attendance Centres for West Mercia (SAC)

  • YSS had been commissioned by the Warwickshire and West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company( WWM CRC)  to provide two Senior Attendance Centres (SAC).  YSS delivered the Worcestershire and Herefordshire SAC at their Carden Street Training and Enterprise Centre and subcontracted the Shropshire and Telford SAC to Willowdene Care Farm.
  • Senior Attendance Centres (SACs) were a stand-alone punishment intervention for people aged 18 to 24 who have committed a low seriousness offence, such attendance. Whilst  we realise that there must be a consequence  to offending and the deprivation of liberties that a SAC  brings, YSS are committed to seeing  lasting change and reform. This can be achieved  through an innovative approach that breaks the cycle of re-offending, where offenders are inspired to live a purposeful and constructive life.  This intervention offered a structured opportunity to engage in practical skills training, cognitive awareness, and employment-focused activity.

Shropshire Integrated Offender Management (IOM)

Shropshire IOM is one of the ways Shropshire’s Community Safety Partnership (Safer Stronger Communities Partnership) is looking to reduce local crime and reduce re-offending. YSS has Keyworker staff co-located in a multi-agency team alongside officers from:-

  • West Mercia Police
  • West Mercia Probation Trust
  • Shropshire Council Community Substance Misuse Team

YSS Keyworkers and specially trained volunteers work with adult (ex) offenders who are not on a community order or prison licence to help them identify, and support them to overcome, the factors which cause them to offend or re-offend.

In order to help individuals address the factors which cause them to offend, YSS works with, and signposts to, a number of other agencies who fall under the seven pathways known to reduce re-offending:-

  • Accommodation – i.e. housing providers
  • Health – i.e. GP surgeries
  • Drugs & Alcohol – i.e. alcohol intervention services
  • Education, employment and training – i.e. training providers
  • Finance, benefits and debts – i.e. debt advice services
  • Children and Families – i.e. family intervention services
  • Attitudes, thinking and behaviour – i.e. counselling services

Engagement with YSS  is voluntary and appointments and meetings are arranged in participants’ local communities.


Staffordshire Prolific and Priority Offenders/Integrated Offender Management, Supporting Compliance (Alternative to Custody) and Resettle and Re-integrate:

YSS was commissioned by Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company (formerly Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust) to provide one to one support to adult offenders throughout the Stoke on Trent area. The funding was split into three distinctive areas of support.

Prolific and Priority Offenders (PPO)/Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Intensive Support Project

YSS Keyworkers and specially trained volunteers delivered direct, one to one support to adult offenders engaged on the Stoke on Trent PPO/IOM programme. All participants undertook a detailed assessment of need and a bespoke tailor made support plan was developed. YSS received referrals from the Police and Probation staff. Engagement with the project was on a voluntary basis. The central aim of the project was to help reduce re-offending through addressing any needs identified across the 7 reducing re-offending pathways.

Supporting Compliance

This was a pilot initiative and was part of a range of Alternative to Custody measures being trialled within Staffordshire. Keyworkers provided six weeks of one to one support aimed at addressing the underlying issues around compliance, thus reducing numbers into custody. Engagement with the project was mandatory for those individuals on a specified activity from the court, or voluntary for those referred prior to attending court proceedings for breach action. Issues such as budgeting, transport, attitude, thinking & behaviour, timekeeping and management were typical of the areas addressed.

Resettle and Re-integrate Project

This project provided a general support package for those individuals who need extra help and support whilst they are on a probation order or licence.  Volunteers from the local community were trained as Mentors to work on a one to one basis with the offender and  provided support, motivation and practical assistance dependent on the individual’s needs. This could include helping the offender access relevant community resources, breaking down barriers to employment, training or further education, as well as support and signposting around finance, debt and benefits. Engagement with the project was on a voluntary basis and longer term support was encouraged.

 These  three projects were evaluated by an independent researcher and  his report showing key findings and added value can be read below:

Social Return on Investment for projects run by YSS for Staffs Probation Trust

This project  regularly has achieved  its targets, and  is proven to be effective  in reducing the  risk of  re-offending:  read more  at  our news feature: Effective  service

Transition 2 Adulthood (T2A)

 YSS had received funding over a three year period from the Barrow Cadbury Trust to develop and deliver a pilot project called T2A (Transition to Adulthood). YSS initially delivered T2A across Worcestershire as one of three national pilots sponsored by Barrow Cadbury, and then across West Mercia. The pilots aimed to develop best practice of working with young adults aged 16 -24 in the youth and adult criminal justice systems. This was working closely with West Mercia Probation Trust, Youth Offending Services, Voluntary sector organisations and the Police in addition to a wider range of agencies involved with the support needs of young adults. For further information visit

The learning outcomes achieved from this pilot  are still very much integrated  into the face to face support we offer today. This is mainly evident in ESS, NSS and SAC provisions.

 PPDG The WOWW (Women Offenders Wanting Work) Project in Shropshire

The WOWW (Women Offenders Wanting Work) Project was funded by PPDG (Pertemps) who had commissioned YSS to provide an Employment focused provision to females that are involved in the Criminal Justice System. YSS provided 1 to 1 or group sessions to the clients for a minimum of 5 weeks, sessions include a Women’s only Job Club, CV Workshops, Mental Wellbeing drop-in, Disclosure Workshop and a Fire Safety at Home session (provide by Shropshire Fire and Rescue). YSS Keyworkers worked with the clients to break down barriers to employment including supporting their clients to address issues in the following areas, Accommodation, Drugs and Alcohol, Mental and Physical Health, Children and Families, Finances, Education/Training/ Employment and Attitude Thinking and Behaviour. All clients engaged with the WOWW Project on a voluntary basis and were supported by either a YSS Keyworker or a YSS Volunteer Mentor.

Women’s Specified Activity Requirement: Worcester: Good Stuff Furniture  project

In partnership with  YSS, Warwickshire and West Mercia Community  Rehabilitation Company (formerly West Mercia Probation  Trust)   offered a specified  activity  requirement  to meet the needs of women offenders, in Worcester. The  services were  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 provided 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 was also  offered.)

The furniture restoration involved re-cycling  wooden furniture  into “shabby chic”  furniture for sale  and gave  the clients the opportunity to learn the  skills involved in  preparing  and painting wood.  This was part of a developing community interest project for offenders. The clients also had 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 took into account the social, economic and family context of women’s lives particularly parenting and care responsibilities and addressed the underlying causes of offending behaviour.

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