Grant to help offenders after prison

Grant will help former offenders
Grant will help former offenders

A grant of more than £200,000 has been awarded to help prevent former criminals from becoming homeless upon their release from prison.

Cherwell District Council submitted an application for funding to the Department for Communities and Local Governments Single Homeless Fund, in partnership with Oxon County Council, the probation service, Oxford City, West Oxfordshire District, Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils.

The grant of £227,362 will be used to provide two new members of staff in the probation service, who will work to improve links with supporting organisations including Thames Valley Police, housing providers, local authorities and support services.

This will help former offenders explore their housing options more quickly to prevent them from becoming homeless.

Funding will also be used to provide further support services and allow the support being offered to be more personal to the user.

Cllr Debbie Pickford, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this funding for the county.

“Often it is very difficult for offenders to integrate back into society as they face the challenges of finding suitable accommodation and a job to sustain it.

“For those without the backing of family and friends, this becomes even harder and can lead to them becoming homeless and potentially reoffending.

“The services provided by authorities such as local councils and the Probation Service becomes even more imperative to their welfare and to prevent them from having to sleep rough and to break a cycle of negative circumstances which could lead to them reoffending.

“It is important that all the relevant authorities work together and share information to provide the best possible support, circumstances and aid to prevent homelessness and ensure successful rehabilitation.

“This joint bid allows us to work together to prevent as many former offenders as possible from becoming homeless in the future.”

It is hoped the two-year posts will boost the existing services already in place in prisons to improve joint working and better partnership working within the community.