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Works for Freedom

Works for Freedom

Works for Freedom supports practice that empowers, by sharing knowledge and experience.

Website URL: http://www.worksforfreedom.org



Unlock is an independent charity that strives to provide advice, advocacy and support services for people with criminal convictions.

They combine professional training with personal experience in order to create an environment where people with previous criminal convictions can feel confident that they are being supported and encouraged in getting their lives back on track.

Unlock has the most comprehensive source of practical self-help information for people who are struggling because of their previous conviction, covering issues such as disclosing to employers, criminal record checks, getting insurance and travel abroad.

Their services include:

  • Confidential helpline
  • Online Information hub
  • Advocacy
  • Expert training for practitioners
  • Policy and campaign work
  • DisclosureCalculator.org.uk – a unique web tool makes it simple to calculate when convictions become 'spent' and no longer need to be disclosed in most case. In 2012, 6,417 were able to make informed decisions when rebuilding their lives after using the Disclosure Calculator.

Unlock is dedicated to improving individual's resettlement chances, reducing their sense of social exclusion and helping them realise and achieve their potential.

All of this contributes to reduce re-offending by increasing the number of people who successfully overcome the on-going, changing and increasingly complex hurdles that face law-abiding people who have previous convictions.

Ultimately, Unlock wants people to be able to positively move on with their lives.

Published in Money Practice

ESC (Educational Shakespeare Company) is an award winning Culture and Arts education charity based in Belfast who specialise in storytelling through drama and film.

They work with a range of marginalised people, specialising in mental health and criminal justice with an aim of challenging perceptions, tackling social exclusion and helping individuals understand their own potential for change and growth through the documenting of life stories.

Tom Magill, co-founder of ESC and an ex-prisoner himself, directed Mickey B, a feature film adaptation of Macbeth made with prisoners as cast in Maghaberry maximum-security prison.  The production has received awards, been translated into six languages, screened globally and has now inspired an education pack. This education pack is designed to engage young people in creative learning and is relevant to many curriculums, but ultimately sets out to answer the question of whether prisoners could eventually become positive educational role models for youth at risk.

ESC were also involved in the 'Creating Change' project which provided them with the opportunity to expand their training resources with ex-prisoners and saw that every £1 invested in their programme had a Social Return On Investment of £10.49. Outcomes reported less re-offending, increased skill set and increased self-confidence and social interaction for those participating.

Since then a new training and support centre, Helping Hands, has been established alongside ESC in Belfast by two ESC ex-prisoner volunteers who offer support and training to ex-prisoners and those headed towards a life of crime.

Published in User-Voices Practice



Yacro know that people just coming out of prison that have no suitable accomodation to go to are very likely to offend and become convicted, and quickly.

This is why it is their mission to take these individuals and offer them a chance to have a secure and settled base from which to start their recovery and new life. When they arrive they are offered in-house numeracy and literacy courses, catering - to help them cook their own healthy meals, budgeting and job application skills. All of these basics are essenial to getting people on the right track and keeping them there.

Yacro has expanded to become a leading provider of a range of offender rehabilitation services, specialising in working with multiple and complex needs and entrenched behaviours. Their services include:

  • Male and female hostels
  • Second stage multiple occupancy
  • Shared housing
  • Drug abstinence and recovery
  • Integrated support package
Published in Housing Practice



Sova has more than 50 projects across England and Wales which are developed in partnership with local agencies to provide services and support tailored to the needs of the people they work with.

Their wide range of support services include:

  • Mentoring offenders
  • Drug and alcohol support
  • Helping people get back to work
  • Supporting children, young people and families
  • Helping people improve their skills
  • Support with life skills

The majority of Sova's work is to do with getting people back into employment, particularly those who are struggling due to their criminal record. They aim to match people's skills to the right career, and provide practical tips on putting together a CV and help with interview skills.  In some cases, once someone has got a job they continue to support them so they stay motivated and keep going to work.


The Cambridge Centre is a charity based in North Yorkshire that offers high quality drug, alcohol and criminal justice services to the community. They have daily drop in centres for people seeking advice about their own or anothers drug and alcohol use and offer a number of groups run on a daily basis covering topics such as health and well being, motivation and recovery for both drug and alcohol users.

Other services include:

  • Alcohol specific services
  • Harm reduction which includes interventions such as needle exchanges
  • Sexual health
  • Gender specific services
  • Creche service which is open weekdays 9am-5pm
  • 'Changing Lives' service which works with individuals to stop the cycle of homelessness, substance misuse and self harm.

They also run a social enterprise in the form of a boutique style shop selling good quality second hand women and children's clothing and gifts that women have crafted. The purpose of this is to 'provide a supported learning environment for vulnerable women in the retail industry to enable women to develop skills, experience and gain confidence and self-esteem.'

Published in Drugs Practice



Rethink is the biggest voluntary sector provider of mental health services England.

With over 200 mental health services and 150 groups across England, Rethink provide a wide range of support and advice for those living with mental illness.

This includes help with:

  • Diagnosis and treatment
  • Living with mental illness
  • Support and advice for family and friends
  • Gaining access to employment and training
  • Mental illness and the criminal justice sector

There are many ways you can get involved by joining their campaigns or volunteering your time.


Published in Health Practice

After Adoption


After Adoption is a voluntary adoption agency and independent adoption support charity dedicated to helping 8,000 children and adults per year from all walks of life deal with the difference adoption brings to their lives.  They offer independent services that support individuals and families at any stage of their adoption journey.

For example:

  • If you are thinking of adopting
  • Family support
  • Searching for someone or information
  • If your child is being adopted
  • If you are adopted yourself

They also provide information for proffesionals including training, conferences, and resource packs.

Published in Relationships Practice

Rocknations Youth Foundation (RNYF) is an organisation based in Bradford that aims to believe in and empower young people in order to give them the voice they need.

'We believed that they were not the trouble makers of our cities but they were in fact the problem solvers, the future leaders, the influencers of the next generation.'

They have projects around the community and in schools that provide young people with opportunities to take part in recreational activitities, ongoing projects and contributions to the community. Their street outreach in the evenings engages with young people in order to reduce anti-social behaviour.

RNYF also currently run support services in HMP New Hall YOI and HMP Wetherby YOI by working alongside the chaplaincy and wider prison service to run one to one and group workshops in personal development and by providing resettlement support.

Published in User-Voices Practice

Kairos Women Working Together (WWT) believe in the value and dignity of all women. They aim to support, empower, and give a voice to women at risk of or subject to sexual exploitation, including those caught up in sex work and those aspiring to leave it. They work in Coventry and provide safe spaces, a listening ear and opportunities for change and growth.

Their aims are:

  • To support women at risk of or subject to sexual exploitation, including those caught up in sex work and those aspiring to leave it
  • To offer safe spaces for women
  • To offer a listening ear and to give a voice through advocacy
  • To create a wide range of opportunities for development, change and growth
  • To promote self-advocacy, self-care and independence
  • To facilitate access to other professional services

They also offer support at HMP Peterborough that includes one to one meetings, pen pal and newsletter services, advocacy and day-release support.

Published in User-Voices Practice

Road to Reduction? Response to the Women's Custodial Estate Review

This report from Women in Prison outlines the changes proposed in NOMS' Women's Custodial Estate Review and contains a recommendation by recommendation analysis of the reforms. 

Published in User-Voices Policy
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