20th Apr 2022

Photo: ex-offenders get the opportunity to develop their skills at Café 16.

A grant from the Pattinson Estate Agents Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, has supported a mentoring project that helps prison leavers into employment.

Oswin Project works closely with HMP Northumberland aiming to break the cycle of re-offending by sourcing paid employment and apprenticeships with businesses and other agencies for ex-offenders on their release. The aim is to give prison leavers a second chance through training, support and employment.

The grant allowed Oswin Project to continue delivering their Oswin Mentoring Project in the North East. The work marries together mentoring and opportunities, so that ex-offenders can go on to be passionate, hardworking employees, improving their own lives whilst contributing to their workplace and community.

Elaine Holdsworth, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation said:

“This project provides a lifeline to ex-offenders and a clear direction of travel, once they leave prison. These opportunities increase the likelihood that they will go on to meaningful employment and hopefully, reduce the chance they will reoffend”.

The Pattinson Estate Agent Fund at the Community Foundation was set up by Keith Pattinson and Caroline Pattinson in 2017. Caroline Pattinson, Managing Director of Pattinson Estate Agents spoke about their aims for the fund and how this grant supports them:

“When we set up our fund with the Community Foundation in 2017, one of our primary focuses was on supporting groups who sometimes struggle to attract funding including ex-offenders.   We recognise how important supporting ex-offenders is to help reduce the instances of re-offending,  which hopefully has a positive impact on the lives of offenders, their families and the community as a whole.  We have been impressed with the projects the Oswin Project has undertaken and the results speak for themselves.”

Ex-offenders have the opportunity to learn a range of professions and the Oswin Project have contracts which cover gardening, decorating and other house-building techniques. They can also learn a trade, gain a qualification and develop a range of soft skills.

Angus McVittie, Project Coordinator at Oswin Project was grateful for the support the fund provided:

“A huge thank you to Pattinsons Estate Agent Fund, for helping us to change lives and break the cycle of reoffending by supporting our mentoring and employment programme for ex-offenders."

A service user said:

"I remind myself just how lucky I am to have this support. Having a routine, a reason to get up in the morning, it’s hard to put into words. It’s made a massive difference!”.

For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply 

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