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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

Soaps & Stories is a social enterprise initiative for women who have been sanctioned by the criminal justice system. Using simple, artisan techniques and high quality ingredients, women are taught how to design, make and sell soaps, learning every aspect of business skills and gaining valuable work experience as they go. Soaps & Stories training programme includes classes in nutrition, health and communication skills and this unique opportunity allows women to earn money and increase their employability skills within a structured and supportive environment.

Soaps & Stories begins with a part time three-week training programme (adapted to meet childcare needs) that incorporate business and life skills. Training modules include communication techniques, motivation, goal setting and basic financial management. Once the women have finished the training they will move onto the second 'selling' phase of the programme where they sell their products at farmers markets and through local buyers. In this phase women receive weekly support which includes business and marketing skills, as well as one to one coaching. 

'We intend for this enterprise to not only make a significant difference in the lives of the women we work with, but also to change perceptions in the local community. Customers will know that by investing in this soap they are investing in an individual to make a better future for themselves.'

Bike Back Bristol is an innovative bicycle refurbishment project run by Life Cycle, in partnership with HMP Bristol and funded by The Big Lottery Fund.

Life Cycle takes donations of unwanted bicycles from the public and takes them to Bristol Prison, where with the help of prisoners they strip down, clean and refit the bikes to give  them a new lease of life. Experienced mechanics work with prisoners teaching them mechanical skills and helping them to refurbish bikes to a high standard.

Once fixed the bikes are sold at affordable prices with the intention of helping Bristolians on lower incomes to get a bike and start cycling.

I was really impressed by the work of Life Cycle UK at HMP Bristol. Sometimes we're quick to judge people in prison, but for some, they've not coped with the cards they've been dealt with. The inmates I met were keen to have a positive impact on society when they were released, they were working hard and seem to welcome the chance of learning a new skill - which is exactly what they were doing at the Life Cycle workshop. I have no doubt that Life Cycle UK will continue to change the lives of many, for the better.

Gethin Jones, BBC

The Domestic Violence Intervention Project has services across London to stop the cycle of domestic violence and reduce the harm it causes to women, children. and families.

They run services for both women who have been a victim of domestic abuse and any men who have been violent to their partner. Their family support services include:

  • supervised contact between parents and children who do not live with them
  • therapy for children who have been affected by domestic violence
  • The Parenting Information Programme, for parents who have separated
  • support for parents of adolescents. 

They also have a specialised service for young people which offers confidential support for those young people who believe that their behaviours are hurting the people they care about. 

Published in Relationships Practice
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Lifeline is a registered Charity with forty years experience of managing drug and alcohol services. Lifeline currently provides a diverse range of services including recovery and peer mentoring, harm minimization, day programmes, prescribing and shared care, community detoxification services, criminal justice and prison initiatives, family work and services for young people. Their services are spread across Yorkshire, the North East, the North West, London and the Midlands, working within diverse towns, cities and villages.

Currently delivering around 75 services or contracts, they support a workforce of 692 staff, over 250 volunteers, and increasing numbers of peer mentors. They works closely with communities and localities, and produce educative and digital material designed to encourage access to help. They also work towards educating professionals in allied sectors and the general public on substance misuse.


Published in Health Practice

St Petrock's


St Petrock's is an Exeter-based charity helping people who are homeless, or vulnerably housed, lead more settled and fulfilling lives through their resource centre that provides Advice and Support, Housing and Support and Health and Crisis Services. Their aim is to improve quality of life, improve health, independent living skills and providing access to training and employment. St Petrock's believe that providing fast, accessible and responsive services is key to helping people off the streets, out of homelessness and into more stable lives.

They have a team that take on a wide range of projects and responsibilities. This includes work at HMP Exeter providing a Prison Resettlement service; their PORCH (Prolific Offender Resettlement in Co-Ordinated Housing) project based at Probation Service and a Rent and Support service that runs from the Centre. 

Published in Housing Practice



Ment4 provides one-to-one specialist mentoring for teenagers - mainly 14 to 17 years old - with behavioural challenges.

They help those who are involved in crime or vulnerable to it, as well as long-term non-attenders, those excluded from schools and those who are judged as particularly vulnerable by Social Services by running six month programmes where mentors spend up to ten hours a week with their assigned young people, one-on-one, working through problematic thinking, helping them choose goals and committing to achieving them.

For those struggling in education, they help identify causes of difficulties and work with teaching staff to build long-term stability in behaviour and attendance. Alongside this, they work closely with families, giving them support, encouragement and coaching boundaries, where necessary.

Practically speaking, mentors at Ment4 attend court meetings, meet teachers, set up training and employment appointments, and chat time and again over milkshakes and air hockey tables. Through these, they aim to build trust, respect, opportunities and hope for the future.

Check out their resources here

Published in User-Voices Practice



Gibran work holistically with women, treating them as individuals and tailoring their support.

Their remit is to provide care and support, increase women's self-esteem, confidence and feelings of control/empowerment in order to help them lead meaningful lives and be able to integrate fully within their communities.

They train peer mentors to allow volunteers to develop professional skills and to combat exclusion by identifying and prioritising their needs, to acquire the life skills to deal with their issues, with the aim of reducing the risk of re-offending.

Gibran UK Ltd has excellent links with a range of voluntary and statutory providers:

  • Swansea Women's Centre to deliver the One Stop Shop services. Swansea Women's Centre provides informal and formal learning opportunities, woman-related resources/information and short-term support and signposting - all in a safe and supportive women-only environment.
  • Jobcentre Plus offices across South Wales, Careers Wales, The Wallich, BTCV, BAWSO (Black Association of Women Step Out), Women's Aid and FFOPs (Family and Friends of Prisoners)
  • NOMS
  • National Probation Service
  • Action for Children (NCH) and Barnardos; helping lone parents develop skills and confidence
  • and a range of organisations that are working with females who have been sanctioned by the criminal justice system, such as UNLOCK, Transitional Support Service and NACRO.

The Gibran UK Ltd project team have worked with Welsh women at HMP Eastwood Park for the last five years; they also have good links with HMP Downview and HMP Foston Hall. The team have been working in partnership with HMP Prison Service Wales since 2002 and National Probation Service South East Wales since 2004.


Published in User-Voices Practice

Changing Paths


Changing Paths is a Community Interest Company and Charitable Trust that assists people who have been sanctioned by the criminal justice system, and others, into skilled, sustainable and paid employment within the construction sector and its supply chain.

They achieve these goals through providing constructive and comprehensive training packages and programmes, and continually growing their partner base who are willing to take on Changing Path graduates.

The intention is that Changing Paths will establish itself as a route of choice out of re-offending for those in the prison population with a genuine desire to change their life prospects on release.

Elmore Community Services is a registered charity that provides high quality services for marginalised and disenfranchised people throughout Oxfordshire.

Elmore aims to work with people with complex needs (including mental health) who do not easily fit into existing service provision or who need support to access service provision in their local community. They identify gaps and barriers in current provision and use this information to lobby for, and create and implement models of working that address these issues. They work directly with people on the margins of society and aim to support individuals to have equal access to the basic rights of society.

They provide both emotional and practical support. This might include helping individuals to register with a GP, support to access addiction services, making sure that they have support in court or help to sort out their benefits and finances. Elmore will help build confidence and independence so that people will feel ready to eventually stop working with them.

Published in User-Voices Practice

YES+ services are designed to explore the underlying causes of criminal and anti-social behaviour with a unique feature – they are the product of criminal experience. The YES+ team have 'walked the walk'; the majority have come from the same background and feel strongly they can help other young people make different choices.

All YES+ interventions are designed by the team and based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Techniques (CBT), personal experience and 'what works' research. The identification between YES+ Facilitators and their young client group helps to promote trust, empathy and credibility. This is a key factor in the delivery of the intervention - to divert young people from crime by empowering them to explore social responsibilities and lifestyle choices.

Published in User-Voices Practice
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